We were recently contacted by an individual who was injured on the job in Marlborough, Massachusetts. This man suffered a lower back injury in a work related accident and was out of work for approximately four months. Unfortunately, his employer let him go while he was out in order to fill his position. When his doctor released him back to work, this man was able to find another job.
This individual, however, never received any disability benefits while he was out of work. He thought that because he was let go and now found a new job that he was not entitled to workers’ compensation. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Understanding the Basics of Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation
Disability benefits are weekly workers’ compensation payments that replace a portion of the injured worker’s wages that they are unable to earn due to their injury. The amount of the disability benefits depends on whether the injured worker is totally disabled or partially disabled and the employee’s average weekly wage. Medical benefits will cover the cost and expenses of reasonable and related medical bills for treatment of an employee’s injuries.
In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation benefits are available to an injured worker whose injury arose out of and in the course of their employment. These benefits are available regardless of whether the injured worker is terminated or released from their employment.
About a Closed Period Claim
A closed period refers to the specific period of time starting when an injured worker is out of work due to their work injury and ends when the disability resolves and the worker is released back to work. Let’s use the example above as an illustration.
This worker was injured on the job on 12/1/17. He suffered a lower back injury and his doctor advised him to remain out of work. When he didn’t return to work in the following couple of weeks, his employer let him go and hired someone else. The injured worker then completed approximately eight weeks of physical therapy and then had another follow up appointment with his doctor. At that follow up appointment, his doctor released him back to full duty. Since this man didn’t have his job anymore, he searched for another job. He was able to secure employment making roughly the same amount of money that he did before and started with the new employer on 4/1/18. So, this injured worker should be entitled to temporary total disability benefits for the closed period of 12/1/17 to 4/1/18. This is true whether or not the injured worker was terminated from his employment while he was out of work. This worker can file an Employee’s Claim for Benefits seeking temporary total disability benefits for the closed period.
Workers’ compensation in Massachusetts can be complex. This is why an experienced workers’ compensation attorney should be consulted if you are hurt on the job. A lawyer that specializes in workers’ compensation will be very familiar with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), an employee’s rights and the laws that pertain of workers’ compensation cases.
Where Can You Get Expert Legal Help?
If you have been injured on the job and are not sure what your rights are or what you are entitled to, you should speak with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Mahaney & Pappas, LLP has extensive experience in Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims. We will defend your rights and fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your work accident and injuries.
Feel free to call us today at (508) 879-3500 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation initial meeting and case evaluation.