Partial Disability Benefits Attorneys in Massachusetts
Work injuries and illnesses are hardly rare, especially when you consider that every seven seconds a worker is injured while performing his or her job duties. According to a report from the National Safety Council, that adds up to 4.6 million work-related injuries per year and more than one million lost work days. Some on-the-job injuries result in a total disability making it virtually impossible for an injured worker to work in any capacity. In other cases, an injury is more localized. A partial disability may be either permanent or temporary in nature.
Let’s take a look at an example of a partial disability. A worker is employed by a package handling service near Boston Logan Airport. He is working near a conveyor belt that is not properly guarded and gets his sleeve caught in the mechanism. His arm is seriously injured and partially amputated by the machinery. Work machinery and equipment that has been altered to circumvent a manufacturer’s safeguards and increase production violate federal safety regulations established by the OSHA and can cause workers to suffer serious injuries such as loss of limb, broken bones, degloving injuries and crushing injuries.
The worker is rushed to the hospital, where, unfortunately, doctors must complete the amputation and remove his right arm completely. He will need to undergo a lengthy recovery period and physical and occupational therapy, along with pain management. During this period of time, the worker suffers from a total disability, because he cannot return to work in any capacity.
This likely will be a temporary disability because he will eventually be able to return to some type of employment, once he has completed occupational therapy. During the time in which the worker is recovering, he is entitled to temporary disability, which includes lost wages.
At this point, the worker can apply for temporary partial incapacity benefits. In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) allows for such benefits for workers who can still work but lose partial earning capacity because of an on-the-job injury or work-related illness. In other words, to be able to qualify for temporary partial incapacity benefits, the worker must be able to work but will earn less because of his work injury or illness. It’s important to note that a worker is entitled to temporary partial disability benefits if the worker’s injury requires him to take a job that pays less or work fewer hours.
In addition to loss of limb or amputation, some common work injuries that are considered partial disabilities in the context of workers’ compensation claims include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Back injuries
- Hearing loss
- Vision impairment
Workers in Massachusetts who are employed in all industries are at risk of suffering serious and debilitating injuries entitling them to temporary partial incapacity benefits. However, these fields present higher on-the-job injury risks:
- Maintenance and repair
- Manufacturing and production
In Massachusetts, EOLWD sets maximum partial incapacity benefits at 75 percent of what the injured worker’s total temporary benefits would be, had it not been for the partial disability. For example, if a worker earns $440 per week as a total temporary disability benefit, the maximum allowable weekly benefit would be $330 ($440 x .75 = $330).How Long Can a Worker Receive Partial Disability Benefits?
Under EOLWD guidelines, workers suffering a partial incapacity can receive benefits for up to 260 weeks.
You can read more about temporary partial incapacity benefits and other workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts on the state’s website at mass.gov.The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman Can Help with a Partial Disability Work Injury Claim
At the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC in Boston, our legal team understands that the process can be very confusing to injured claimants and that it may appear as if it will be difficult to obtain a full and appropriate workers’ compensation award. This is especially true when workers are supposed to be concentrating on recovery, and the last thing they need is to be on the phone or going to a government office to deal with a bureaucratic headache.
The best thing that you can do if you have been injured on the job is to contact a Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney who has experience and regularly represents clients in your situation. You want somebody who is on your side fighting for your rights, while explaining the process and keeping you updated at all times. This will allow you to focus on what is important.
It will be most helpful for you to contact an attorney as soon as possible after a work injury occurs. The sooner you have experienced legal representation looking out for your best interests, the better the likely outcome.
To learn more about how our workers’ compensation attorneys can help you with your partial disability claim, contact The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC today at (617) 777-7777 or use our online form.