Workers Compensation Statutes – Section 152
If you are injured at work in Massachusetts, everything from the viability of your claim to how much you can expect to receive will be outlined in the various sections of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL), which is the Workers’ Compensation Act (WCA).
Our experienced attorneys at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman are committed to helping you navigate this process, as the law contains complex and sometimes confusing legal language that may be subject to some interpretation by the courts. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyers can help you better understand this law, your rights and the process, as well as potential pitfalls your case could face.
Section 34, Chapter 152: Total Incapacity Compensation
In some Boston workers’ compensation cases, the injury makes it impossible or impractical to do the same job you were doing prior to being injured. For example, we have seen cases where a person permanently lost the use of his arm for an on-the-job accident and was not able to work again. In other situations, a permanent arm injury could render the worker only partially incapacitated. Having an experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorney on your side can help to ensure you obtain the proper benefits.
Sometimes an accident prevents an injured worker from working any job, let alone the one he or she had been working prior to becoming disabled. In these cases, the injured worker may be entitled to temporary total incapacity benefits. The compensation due in this situation is outlined in Section 34 of Chapter 152 of the MGL. Under M.G.L. Chapter 152 Section 34, the injured worker can collect benefits at a rate of 60 percent of his or her average weekly wage prior to the accident. The amount an injured worker can receive is capped by the state average weekly wage (SAWW).
Section 35, Chapter 152: Partial Incapacity Compensation
Where a doctor releases an injured worker back to work light duty, often with lifting, climbing, stooping or other restrictions, the worker may be entitled to temporary partial disability benefits. Similarly, if the employee takes a lower paying job, they may also be entitled to partial disability benefits. Pursuant to Section 35 of Chapter 152 of the MGL, a worker with a partial disability work capacity is entitled to weekly benefits in the amount of 45% of the employee’s pre-injury average weekly wage, or the difference between the pre-injury wage and the current wage less 40 percent.
Section 34A, Chapter 152: Permanent and Total Incapacity Compensation
Pursuant to Section 34A of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws, an injured worker rendered permanently and totally incapacitated can be paid weekly benefits of two-thirds of his or her average weekly wage. One thing to keep in mind is that the maximum total benefits an individual can receive under Section 34 or Section 35 must be paid before an injured worker can qualify for benefits under this section. It can often be incredibly difficult to obtain permanent and total incapacity compensation benefits, and as a result you should contact our experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorneys for a consultation and assistance.
Section 13, Chapter 152: Rate of Payment by Insurers; Review of Clinical Health Care Providers; Heath Care Services Board
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152 Section 13 deals with the payment of medical benefits. The payment of medical benefits, and what medical services are necessary is one of the more commonly disputed issues by insurance companies. They do not want to pay for medical treatment that can often be very expensive, if they do not have to. Section 13 is one of the more complex sections of the worker’s compensation statute, and consulting with an experienced Boston workers’ compensation attorney can be incredibly beneficial.
Section 30, Chapter 152, Adequate and Reasonable Health Care Services; Preferred Health Care Providers
This section also deals with the payment of medical expenses for an injured employee, but the reason Section 30 of Chapter 152 is different from other sections such as Section 13 is that it deals with the rights an injured worker has to choose his or her own medical care providers and control his or her course of treatment.
The employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company will have a preferred providers network just like most health insurance companies. The company will often push an injured worker to see a doctor on their list. However, it is important to remember that the injured worker can choose any doctor they wish to treat with regularly, so long as the doctor accepts Massachusetts’s workers’ compensation payment rates.
Section 36, Chapter 152: Specific Injuries
In most cases, the workers’ compensation benefits are limited to payment for weekly wages and medical bills and other rehabilitation expenses. Unlike in the case of a personal injury lawsuit, there are no payments for pain and suffering. However, pursuant to Section 36, Chapter 152, there is a way to get additional benefits, paid in a lump sum, for specific types of injuries. If an injury results in a permanent loss of function, for example the loss of vision in an eye or a loss of a finger, an injured worker can receive compensation for this injury. Section 36 payments can be extended for amputations, facial, neck, or hand scarring, certain disfigurements, and various other losses of function. Consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can ensure that you obtain all the Section 36 benefits you may be entitled to.
Section 28 Chapter 152: Willful Misconduct of Employer; Defense; Reimbursement of Insurer; Employment of Minor; Mentally Retarded Persons; Injuries at Sheltered Workshops
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152 Section 28 deals with rare cases where your employer engages in willful misconduct. These cases are few and far between, but when it does happen, it will let you recover twice the benefits you could get in an average case. The court requires a significant burden to be met in order to collect Section 28 benefits. It must be shown that the employer engaged in willful and wanton misconduct. As a matter of law, a valid Section 28 claim exists where a case involves minors and persons with certain mental disabilities.
Section 31 Chapter 152: Death; Compensation of Dependents; Hearings
Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 152 Section 31, allows for the payment of death benefits to surviving families members when the case involves a fatal on the job accident. The death of the injured worker does not have to occur immediately. Often times a worker’s injuries are so severe that they will eventually pass away as a result of them. In such a situation, certain surviving relatives of the workers may receive Section 31 benefits. Cases involving the passing of an injured worker are at times very difficult, and take their toll on the surviving family members. Our Boston workers’ compensation attorneys can help alleviate the burdens you face and will walk you through the process to ensure you obtain all the benefits you are entitled to.
Section 33, Chapter 152: Burial Expenses
Section 33 of Chapter 152 of the Massachusetts General Laws (MGL) provides that the workers’ compensation insurer shall pay reasonable burial expenses for injured workers where a workplace accident results in a fatality. The amount the insurer must pay is capped at eight times the state average weekly wage (SAWW). While there is often nothing you will be able to do about this, any money you can get under this section will be of help.
If you are injured in a Boston work accident, trust our dedicated workers’ compensation attorneys to help guide you through the process. We know the law. We know the system. Our proven results will give you confidence as we work to help you obtain the fair compensation you deserve.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.