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Total Disability

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, workers’ compensation benefits are paid in an amount determined by several factors, including an injured employee’s disability rating.

While some injuries, such as broken leg, will likely heal and allow the worker to eventually return to his or her job without physical limitations, some injuries are more serious, and the employee who was injured on the job may never be able to work again.

Workers’ Compensation Total Disability Example:

An employee is working at a warehouse in East Boston. While at work, he is standing next to a forklift, while the operator is getting a palate of goods from the top level of a set of steel shelves. The pallet of goods causes the forklift to tip over, and it lands on the employee.

He is severely injured in the on-the-job accident and suffers a broken back with paralysis. When he first files a workers’ compensation claim, he is covered for his medical bills and lost wages. Surgeons try to repair damage to his spine. At this point, employee is suffering from a total disability under Executive Office of Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development (EOMLWD) guidelines.

Employee is given a total disability rating, because he cannot work in any capacity for any employer.

What is temporary total disability?

In this example, surgeons may be able to successfully repair his spine, allowing him to return to work at some point in the future. This would be considered a temporary total disability, because, while he cannot work in any capacity for the time being, his total disability is only temporary.

What is permanent total disability?

A permanent total disability rating in Massachusetts is one whereby the injured worker will never be able to return to work. In our example, if surgeon were unable to repair worker’s spine damage, the doctor may say patient has reached maximum medical improvement (MMI). MMI means everything feasible to repair worker’s spine has been done, and no other medical treatment will be beneficial.

What are total disability benefits?

According to EOMLWD regulations, you are entitled to two-thirds of your average weekly wage, or a minimum of 20 percent of the state average weekly wage (SAWW), based upon the year prior to your debilitating injury or illness.

Is there a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of workers’ compensation?

Yes, if you awarded total disability benefits, you are entitled to a COLA.

Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffery S. Glassman, LLC, understand this can be a confusing process for injured workers and their families, during what is already a difficult time. One of the best things you can do is speak with an attorney who regularly handles workers’ compensation cases involving serious injuries. This will allow you and your family to concentrate on medical treatment, rehabilitation, and the many adjustments that may be necessary to get on with your life, while your workers’ compensation attorney is handling your case and working to get you a full and appropriate benefits award.

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I used the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman for a painful and frustrating worker's comp case and had an absolutely fantastic experience. They were attentive, professional, knowledgeable, transparent, and genuinely caring. I can't recommend them highly enough.
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