Articles Tagged with Boston construction injury lawyer

Workers’ Compensation insurers must follow certain procedures in order to lawfully terminate or reduce Massachusetts workers’ compensation benefits.  The procedure for modification or termination varies greatly depending on how long the insurance company has been paying benefits.

THE FIRST 180 DAYS AFTER YOUR DISABILITY BEGINS

If the insurer has began to make payment of weekly benefits to you timely, namely within 14 days of notice, the insurer is allowed to stop payments to the employee without obtaining approval of the Department of Industrial Accidents (“DIA”) or the consent of the employee. However the insurer is required to give the employee seven(7) day written notice of their intent to stop benefits. The insurer’s written notice of termination must state their reasons and advise the employee of his or her rights to file a claim for further benefits.  If you return to work at the same rate of pay you were earning prior to your injury, the insurer may terminate benefits effective the last day you were disabled prior to your return to work.  If your own treating doctor clears you to return to your previous job, the insurer may terminate benefits regardless of whether or not your prior job remains available to you.

There are many factors that determine the Lump Sum settlement value of a Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation claim. Some Massachusetts’ workers compensation claims may have no settlement value at all, while some may have a settlement value of several hundred thousand dollars (or more).  While it is important to stress that each individual workers’ compensation claim must be evaluated individually, there are some important factors that determine if a claim has settlement value, and if so, the amount of that settlement value.

Each state administers its own individual system of workers’ compensation benefits. In Massachusetts, the workers’ compensation system is known as what is commonly referred to as a “wage loss” system. That is, if a work related injury or medical condition causes a period of disability from work that also causes wage loss, then the injured worker is entitled to weekly wage loss benefits.  It should be noted that not all work related injuries (even if the injury prevents the injured worker from returning to the previous occupation that they were performing while they were injured) cause a wage loss. For example, a forty five year old employee with a master’s degree in computer science is laid off from his job as a computer software programmer where he was paid $78,000.00 per year, or $1,500.00 per week.  In order to pay his bills while he looks for another job in the computer software field, he takes a job in the construction industry as a laborer.  While working as a laborer, he strains his back.  Although the injury isn’t serious enough to cause him to need back surgery, the injured worker is permanently disabled from working as a laborer where he was earning $1,000.00 per week. His treating doctor is of the opinion that he can return to work at a sedentary or light duty job.  Because he is capable of earning more money as a computer software programmer, an occupation he is trained for, physically able to do, and pays him more money than the laborer job, he has no wage loss and would not be entitled to any weekly workers compensation after the point in time where his doctor cleared him to return to light duty work.  Continue reading

Another disability benefit available for Massachusetts’ employees injured and out of work for more than one year is social security disability. For more information on who qualifies for SSDI benefits and how you can apply for SSDI, please refer to our SSDI practice area page. It is important to note that any worker who is out of work for one year or who has a condition which will clearly lead to disability lasting more than twelve months should consider filing for social security disability.

There are certain coverage requirements which generally state that a worker must have had a fairly steady work history to qualify; but assuming you do qualify, social security disability could provide significant additional benefits to you and your family in addition to your workers’ compensation benefits. There is no effect on your workers’ compensation claim by filing for social security. Indeed, an award of social security disability benefits may even help your workers’ compensation claim. Social security disability could pay an injured worker and his family up to an additional two thousand four hundred ($2,400.00) per month, depending on the amount of the worker’s pre-injury wages. In addition to monthly money, social security can also provide the worker with Medicare coverage after the second year of social security entitlement. This may be important since many workers who are on workers’ compensation have their health care insurance canceled after being out of work for a period of time. Continue reading

The new year brought  new changes to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Health and Safety Administrations’ (“OSHA”) work injury reporting requirements for employers.  Prior to January 1, 2015, employers were required to report fatalities occurring at the workplace and incidents that required three or more employees to be hospitalized.  Beginning on January 1, 2015, OSHA now requires employers to report any injuries or illnesses that occur at the workplace and require only one employee to be hospitalized.  The employer of the injured worker must report the work injury or illness to OSHA within 24 hours of their first knowledge of the hospitalization. Continue reading