How Are Workers’ Compensation Awards Determined in Massachusetts?
Workers’ compensation can be a great help to injured employees who may be out of work while they recover. Compensation awards can help people pay for expensive medical bills and make ends meet if they are unable to return to work for a while. What confuses many people is precisely how workers’ compensation awards are determined in Massachusetts.
This is a tough question to answer, but your award will likely depend on multiple factors surrounding your case. Awards may differ for different employees based upon the nature and severity of their injuries. Essentially, more serious injuries that result in more costly medical bills and longer time off from work will probably be met with greater compensation awards.
Read on to learn about how workers’ compensation awards are determined from our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan. To schedule a free legal consultation about your workers’ compensation case, call (617) 925-6407.
How Workers’ Compensation Awards Are Calculated in Massachusetts
The facts and circumstances surrounding your injuries and accident will be considered when determining your workers’ compensation award. Compensation is not a one-size-fits-all issue, and different people will have different experiences with workers’ compensation. For the most part, the expenses associated with your accident, like medical bills and treatment costs, will play a significant role in determining your award amount.
The more you pay in medical bills, the greater your compensation award will likely be. Even if an employee does not miss five days of work, the minimum requirement for compensation, they may still get an award for medical expenses. This is crucial because medical expenses can be very high, especially for serious injuries.
Your workers’ compensation award is also influenced by the nature and severity of your injuries. More serious injuries typically require more treatment and therefore lead to higher medical bills. However, a serious injury may also cause permanent or long-term consequences for the injured employee. Injuries like severe burns or lost limbs may result in greater compensation awards. Generally, if an injury causes permanent impairment, you may be compensated based on the degree of impairment you are expected to suffer.
Finally, workers’ compensation awards can cover injured employees who cannot return to work either temporarily or permanently. The amount of your award will be based on your income before you were injured. Typically, workers’ compensation does not makeup 100% of your income. Instead, it usually makes up for roughly two-thirds of your yearly wages. The more money you were making before you were injured, the greater your compensation award will be.
Consult with our Cambridge workers’ compensation lawyers about your situation to figure out what kind of compensation award you can expect.
Compensation Awards for Specific Injuries and Losses in Massachusetts
In some cases, injured employees suffer injuries that cause them to lose certain aspects of their normal bodily functions. This often includes things like the loss of limbs or the loss of physical senses like sight or hearing. These losses have a lasting impact on the rest of the employee’s life and may hinder them from ever working again. As such, the State of Massachusetts has established laws that require compensation for these losses under § 36 of title XXI of the Massachusetts General Laws. According to this law, workers must be compensated for:
Vision loss in one or both eyes, or the total loss of one or both eyes
Vision loss could be total or could only be partial. The extent of your vision loss will determine your amount of compensation.
Hearing loss in one or both ears
As with vision loss, when both ears are affected, your compensation award is more significant.
The amputation of the arm or the loss of function in the arm
If the loss of function or amputation affects a greater part of the arm, you will receive more compensation. For example, a person who loses function in the entire arm will get more compensation than if they lost function in only the forearm. Also, more compensation is given when both arms are affected.
The amputation of the hand at the wrist or loss of function in the hand
The loss of both hands will result in greater compensation.
The amputation or permanent loss of function in the leg
Loss of function or amputation of both legs requires more significant compensation for the injured worker.
The amputation or loss of function in the foot
This leads to greater compensation if both feet are affected.
Permanent but only partial loss of function in a bodily extremity
Includes extremities such as the arms, legs, hands, or feet. It does not matter which part of your body is affected. If the loss is only partial, it will be calculated the same.
Loss of bodily senses, other than those mentioned above
This could include a loss of smell, taste, or touch.
Bodily disfigurement, such as severe burns or scarring.
The extent of your award is based on the extent of your disfigurement but may not exceed $15,000.
Your compensation for these losses is based on your average weekly salary. Depending on which part of your body is affected, compensation is calculated by multiplying your weekly salary by a specific number. Our Malden workers’ compensation lawyers can help you figure out how you should be compensated under this law.
Why Workers’ Compensation is Awarded in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation is a benefits system put in place to protect injured employees. After suffering an on-the-job accident, an injured employee may file a workers’ compensation claim to get money to cover medical bills and any time away from work due to their injury.
Workers’ compensation is the responsibility of the employer rather than the employee. All employers in Massachusetts are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation is generally legally required whenever an accident occurs in the workplace, so employees typically cannot sue their employers for personal injuries. Our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys can help you navigate this complicated legal process.
Factors Not Considered When Determining Workers’ Compensation Awards in Massachusetts
While numerous factors can influence the outcome of your workers’ compensation case, several seemingly important factors do not play a role. While your injuries may be quite painful, pain and suffering are not considered and not subject to any compensation award. Also, fault does not matter when determining compensation.
People often think of pain and suffering when they are receiving any kind of legal compensation. However, pain and suffering tend to come into play in personal injury lawsuits, not workers’ compensation. Pain and suffering will not be considered when determining a workers’ compensation award.
One good thing about workers’ compensation is that it does not matter who was at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. Whether you caused the accident through your own mistakes or it was totally your employer’s fault, your workers’ compensation award will not be affected. Speak to our Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyers to find out more about the process of determining compensation awards.
Reach Out to Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers for Help
If you were injured in a work-related accident but are unsure if you qualify for workers’ compensation, speak to our Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys right away. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 for help determining the amount of your possible award.