Certain benefits are available through workers’ compensation in your state. Generally, you will receive four different types of benefits through workers’ compensation. These include:
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Medical bill payments
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Weekly lost wage benefits
How much each of these benefits will be worth will vary a great deal depending on the type of injury and industry in which you work. Your wages before the accident and the seriousness of your injury will have the greatest impact on your amount of benefits.
In Massachusetts, disabled workers are entitled to three types of incapacity payments. If you are totally incapacitated because of the work injury, you can receive benefits of 60% of your average weekly wage up to 156 weeks. If your incapacitation is expected to be permanent, then you can receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage. If you are partially incapacitated, you can receive 60% of the difference between your weekly wage before the injury and after the injury. These benefits are in addition to medical bill payments and any necessary vocational rehabilitation.
How Much Are Weekly Benefits?
Weekly benefits in Massachusetts are based on 60% of your average weekly wage. Your average weekly wage (or AWW) relies on a certain calculation laid out by statute. You can approximate your AWW by taking adding up everything you have earned in the past 52 weeks, including overtime or bonuses, and dividing it by 52. Then, 60% of this amount is likely what you will receive in benefits. There are a few adjustments for based on cost of living and other factors, but this simple math can give you a good idea of what your weekly benefits may be.
There are also maximum and minimum benefits amounts in Massachusetts. These amounts are adjusted each year in October. As of October 2016, the maximum rate is $1,291.74, and the minimum is $258.35. Workers can likely expect an upward adjustment in October 2017.
Temporary Versus Permanent Incapacitation Benefits
You will generally receive temporary benefits while you are recovering and unable to work. Permanent benefits are available if your medical condition is stable (often referred to as “maximum medical improvement” or MMI), and your situation is not expected to improve anymore. Being at MMI does not mean that you have fully recovered from your injuries, but you are not supposed to improve anymore.
No Benefits for Pain and Suffering
Unlike regular personal injury cases, workers’ compensation does not involve compensation for pain and suffering. This is part of the trade-off that employees experience for getting their benefits faster and usually without having to file a litigated claim.
Workers’ compensation is often the only way that employees can be compensated after a work-related accident. It is designed to be more of an income protection benefit rather than a true alternative to asserting a personal injury claim. There are, however, situations where even work injuries would fall outside of workers’ compensation.
Because workers’ compensation laws are confusing, it can be difficult to determine if you are getting all of the benefits you are entitled to receive. Having a workers’ compensation attorney look over your benefits can be a good way to ensure that you receive all of the compensation you deserve after a work-related accident.