Firefighters and Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts

5557687409_b7376b334bOn June 17, 1972, there was an infamous fire that occurred at the Vendome Hotel, located on Commonwealth Avenue and Dartmouth Street. The Vendome Hotel had been a famous luxury hotel that hosted some of the brightest luminaries in the world. When the accident occurred, the owners of the Vendome Hotel were converting it into condominiums. The inferno was so great that it required three hours before firefighters could completely extinguish the flames; 50 firefighters had to work in concert in order to quell the four-alarm fire. After they had succeeded in taming the blaze, the normal clean-up operation began. However, without any warning, a section of the building collapsed, killing nine firefighters and injuring eight more. The firefighters had to work for nine hours to unearth the bodies of their fallen colleagues underneath the rubble. It was the worst loss in the history of the Boston Fire Department. The authorities were never able to determine officially the cause of the fire. Because of the blaze, eight women lost their husbands and 25 children became fatherless. As a result of the tragedy, a memorial was built across the street from the hotel to honor the firefighters who lost their life at the hotel 25 years after the accident on June 17, 1997.

What happens when a person is injured while working?

As the state of Massachusetts points out, when you are injured at work, you will receive medical benefits whether you miss work or not. The insurance company of the worker’s employer must pay all related costs to the injuries of their workers. Those types of costs will include matters such as hospitalization, surgery, doctor’s fees, prescription drugs, medical rehabilitation, and other required medical services. The employer must continue to pay for these benefits for as long as treatment is necessary for the recuperation of injuries. If the work-related injury causes the worker to miss more than five working days, the employee is entitled to cash benefits for lost wages. It is not necessary that the worker miss five consecutive days; once the worker has missed five days, the employee can file for lost income.

What happens when there is a death on the job?

If a worker perishes in a work-related accident, then there are different benefits that would apply for workers’ compensation. The salary benefits would accrue not to the deceased, but rather to family members such as a spouse or children. The family is able to receive up to $4,000 from the employer’s insurance company for burial expenses. Additionally, the spouse would receive a weekly payment equal to ⅔ of the worker’s average weekly income. However, if the spouse were to marry another person, the spouse would no longer be entitled to the workers’ compensation salary benefits. If the spouse remarries, though had children with the deceased, the children would still be able to obtain economic benefits. They would obtain $60 per week until they reach the age of majority.

If you have questions regarding workers’ compensation in Massachusetts, contact the Sheehan Law Firm. We can help you file a claim for benefits, and advocate aggressively on your behalf to ensure you get the payments that you deserve.

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