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Loss of Function of Senses, Including Eyesight, Hearing or Motor Control

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation Act provides certain benefit awards for specific types of injuries, including those that result in a loss of function of senses, including eyesight, hearing or motor control. Chapter 151, Section 36 of the Massachusetts General Laws provides guidelines for these specific types of workplace injuries.

Loss of Function of Ears:

Pursuant to the workers’ compensation law in Massachusetts, a worker who is injured on the job and suffers a loss of hearing in one ear is entitled to benefits equaling the State Average Weekly Wage (SAWW) multiplied by 29. For example, in 2013, the Commission for Unemployment Assistance for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts set the SAWW at $1,181.28. In this example, for the loss of hearing in one ear, a worker would be entitled to this figure multiplied by 29 for a total of $34,257.12. This amount is generally paid as a one-time lump sum payment, in addition to any other workers’ compensation benefits. However, it should be noted that this was a general example based upon a 2013 figure and may have no relation to your actual situation.

If an employee suffers a hearing loss in both ears, the law provides he or she is entitled to SAWW multiplied by a factor of 77.

Loss of Eyesight:

Pursuant to workers’ compensation law in Massachusetts, when a worker who loses an eye but retains the ocular muscles (medically known as “enucleation”) or otherwise loses vision in one eye, workers’ compensation benefits are established as being SAWW multiplied by 39. For a total loss of eyesight in both eyes, benefits are established at SAWW multiplied by 96.

There are various formulas for determining benefits when an injured worker suffers a partial loss of eyesight in one or both eyes. If this situation applies to you, your Boston work injury attorney at the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glassman, LLC can explain how to arrive at a calculation in your particular case.

Loss of Motor Control or Amputation:

Loss of motor control of a hand, arm, foot, or leg can entitle the injured employee to workers’ compensation benefits under the traditional method for calculating benefits for work-related injuries in Massachusetts and/or special compensation under the special injuries section of the MGL. For example, a worker who loses a hand or use of a hand will be entitled to a set amount of money depending on whether the injury is to the “major” arm or “minor” arm. This is what we typically refer to as dominant or non-dominant hand (being right or left handed). In the case of a loss of hand or loss of motor control in a hand below the wrist in the major arm, a worker is entitled to SAWW multiplied by 39.

It should be noted that this is also in addition to any workers’ compensation benefits to which you may be entitled, and you should speak with your attorney about the facts of your particular injury, as every case is different.

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