Yesterday morning, a woman employed by a roofing company from Milford, Massachusetts, was working on renovations to a building in Norwood. Fox25 Boston reported that she was on top of the roof of the building and fell through a skylight. It was estimated that the employee fell 30 feet and was seriously injured. This injured worker was immediately taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and is, reportedly, in critical condition.
Falls from any height can result in serious injuries and significant disabilities. The extent of this worker’s injuries have not yet been reported, but one can only imagine what injuries were sustained after falling 30 feet. This is a prime example of why the Workers’ Compensation Act was put in place so many years ago. The Act provides the injured worker with certain workers’ compensation benefits for the work related injuries.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Overview
A worker in Massachusetts, who is injured on the job while in the course of their employment, has a right to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance policy that Massachusetts employers are required by law to carry for their employees.
Employees are covered by workers’ compensation insurance no matter how long they have been employed or how many hours per week they work. Also, unlike auto insurance, with workers’ compensation the injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who is at fault for causing the accident. The accident could be the injured worker’s fault, and he or she still has a right to benefits.
Workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts include benefits for medical bills and expenses, a portion of lost pay or wages due to the injury, reimbursement for reasonable cost of travel to and from doctor’s visits, and other benefits.
Overview of Specific Benefits
The disability benefits from workers’ compensation insurance are, perhaps, the most important benefits available to injured workers. These benefits, also referred to as “incapacity benefits”, are payments of money from the insurance company directly to the injured employee to replace a portion of the wages the injured employee is unable to earn due to his or her work injury. The disability benefits are calculated based upon the injured employee’s average weekly wage. There are three types of disability benefits in Massachusetts.
- Temporary Total Disability Benefits. Temporary Total Disability Benefits under M.G.L. c. 152 § 34 are available to employees whose work injury renders them unable to work for five or more days. These payments are equal to 60% of the employee’s gross average weekly wage (inclusive of all concurrent employment). Temporary Total Disability Benefits can be pain for up to 3 years (or 156 weeks).
- Temporary Partial Disability Benefits. If an employee’s injury allows them to perform some work, but they are unable to earn their pre-injury average weekly wage, then the employee may be eligible for Temporary Partial Disability payments, which is governed by M.G.L. c. 152 § 35. The payments you receive for partial disability are based on what you are able to earn at work while injured. The weekly partial incapacity compensation is an amount equal to 60% of the difference between the average weekly wage before the injury and the amount the employee is able to earn after the injury. Our laws provide for a maximum rate for partial disability, which is two-thirds (or 75%) of your total disability benefit rate. The partial disability benefits are available for up to 5 years (or 260 weeks)(or 4 years if you were paid all 3 years of your total disability benefits).
- Permanent and Total Disability Benefits. These benefits are available for employees who are rendered totally and permanently unable to work because of their work injury. M.G.L. c. 152 § 34A covers P&T disability benefits. Generally, the injured employee must establish that their physical injury is permanent and the incapacity to earn wages is total to be eligible to receive permanent and total disability benefits. These payments are calculated as two-thirds (or 75%) of the employee’s average weekly wage and are payable to the injured worker for as long as he/she remains disabled. Employees, who are deemed permanently and totally disabled, are also entitled to cost-of-living adjustments (COLA).
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act also provide medical benefits to an injured worker, who was hurt on the job. Medical benefits are available to cover the cost of medical treatment that is reasonable, medically necessary, and causally related to the work injury. Medical bill payments are available to pay all of the injured employee’s medical bills so as long as the treatment in necessary. This is an extremely important because when an employee is hurt on the job and cannot work, they often worry about how medical bills piling up. With the cost of medical treatment being very high, it is extremely beneficial to injured workers to have their employer’s insurance company cover the costs of treatment.
What Should an Injured Worker do After Being Hurt on the Job?
If you have been hurt in an accident on the job, we recommend you follow three important steps right away. (1) get medical attention right away; (2) report your work accident and injury to your employer immediately; and (3) get legal advice about what your rights are. Following these steps will help an injured worker obtain the workers’ compensation benefit he or she deserves, if the insurance company doesn’t or refuses to pay.
If an injured worker doesn’t receive benefits after a work related accident or is denied benefits from the insurance company, then the injured employee can file a claim for benefits and go through the workers’ compensation process in pursuit of these benefits.
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has represented numerous employees hurt on the job get the benefits and compensation they deserve. We offer free, no-obligation initial meetings and case evaluations. All you have to do is call (508) 879-3500 or contact us online today. Call today to see how we can help you.