As you decide whether to file for Massachusetts worker’s comp, you’ll likely wonder, “How much will I get compensated?”
That number will help you understand your options moving forward as you manage your injury. You might wonder if worker’s comp will be enough to support you or if you should try to get back to work while you get benefits.
Massachusetts offers multiple types of worker’s comp benefits depending on your condition. Let’s go over the compensation you’re entitled to.
What kinds of benefits can I get through Massachusetts worker’s comp?
Massachusetts worker’s compensation offers the following types of benefits:
- Medical coverage: Under worker’s comp medical benefits, your employer’s insurer will cover appointments, procedures, prescriptions, and travel related to your treatment.
- Wage coverage: Massachusetts worker’s comp will also pay part of your typical wages depending on your injury’s effect on your capacity to work.
- Additional benefits: You can have your vocational training covered if you need to change your job. When someone dies due to a workplace injury, workers’ comp can also cover burial costs and support surviving family members. You’re also entitled to payment for disfigurement or permanent loss of function.
Most of the benefits listed above consist of weekly payments.
In some cases, your employer’s insurer will ask to make a settlement where they pay you one lump sum.
How much is worker’s comp in Massachusetts?
The money you receive through worker’s comp depends on your condition and its impact on your ability to work. Let’s look at the payment structures for the different types of benefits:
If you have a work-related illness or injury that needs medical care, worker’s compensation can cover those services with no time limit or cost cap. Workers’ comp medical benefits cover:
- Costs for appointments and surgical procedures, including evaluations
- Costs for prescriptions drugs needed to treat your injury or illness
- Mileage reimbursement for travel to and from relevant medical visits
In Massachusetts, you must go to your employer’s medical clinic for your first appointment if they have one. Otherwise, you can choose the doctor you see for your care.
On top of your medical benefits, worker’s comp will cover part of the wages you would get if you could work. The amount you receive depends on your capacity to work after your injury.
The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) calculates these payments based on your average weekly wage before your injury.
To calculate this average weekly wage, find your total pre-tax and pre-benefits earnings, including overtime and bonuses, from the 52 weeks before your injury. Then, divide that number by 52.
This formula works a little differently if you worked for your employer for fewer than 52 weeks before you got injured. Count how many weeks you worked for them before your injury, then divide your total earnings from your employer by that number.
Massachusetts has maximum and minimum weekly compensation limits based on the statewide average weekly wage (SAWW). Going off these guidelines, you can receive a minimum of $338.85 and a maximum of 1,694.24 per week from 2021 to 2022.
When you receive worker’s comp, you may qualify for one of three types of incapacity benefits calculated from your average weekly wage:
- Temporary total incapacity benefits: You receive these benefits if your injury or illness makes you unable to work for five or more days. They pay 60% of your average weekly wage. You can get them for up to three years.
- Partial incapacity benefits: If you can still work but need to take lower pay or fewer hours, you could qualify for these benefits. You’ll get up to 75% of what your temporary total incapacity benefits would be, but you can receive them for up to five years instead of three.
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits: You qualify for these benefits when you can no longer do any kind of work permanently due to your injury or illness. They pay 66% of your weekly average wage for as long as you are disabled.
Additional benefits for situations that require extra compensation include:
- Vocational rehabilitation: The DIA offers vocational rehabilitation services like training, testing, counseling, and job placement assistance. They may ask you to attend these services to receive other benefits.
- Burial expenses: In any case where an injured employee dies, the insurer must cover reasonable burial expenses. That coverage caps at eight times SAWW.
- Survivor’s benefits: The spouse of an employee who dies due to a workplace injury can get 66% of the employee’s average weekly wage. If the spouse remarries, they lose those benefits, but the employee’s children can get $60 a week per child.
- Permanent loss of function and disfigurement: If your injury or illness disfigures you or causes a permanent loss of bodily function, you could qualify for a one-time payment. This payment is based on injury-specific guidelines calculated with SAWW.
How would getting a lawyer affect my payout?
Working with a lawyer can significantly increase the amount of money you receive from worker’s comp. In fact, claims with legal representation payout 739% percent more than claims without.
Sometimes, having an attorney can be the difference between getting paid, or not getting paid at all. While the state’s conditions for benefits seem cut-and-dry, your employer’s insurer can debate your eligibility when they evaluate your claim. A lawyer will advocate for your eligibility and help you earn all the benefits you’re entitled to.
The only downside, of course, of hiring a lawyer, is cost. Workers’ comp lawyers only charge after you’ve won a case, and what they charge is capped, and dependent on the extent of their involvement.
Massachusetts worker’s compensation fee schedule for lawyers
Massachusetts determines a set rate for lawyers to charge for handling worker’s comp cases. As of September 2022, lawyers can charge the following amounts for different stages of a case:
- Accepted claim without dispute: ~$850
- Hearing for a new claim: ~$1800
- Challenging an illegal cutoff to benefits from the insurer: ~$1200
- Winning a hearing: ~$6500
These charges add up as you progress through your case. If you win a settlement, your lawyer will receive 20% of your winnings.
Get legal help through Atticus
If you decide to increase your payout by hiring a lawyer, look for one who specializes in worker’s comp. At Atticus, we connect people considering worker’s compensation with carefully vetted lawyers.
Are services are always free, we’ll only connect you to a lawyer if you need one, and we can give free legal advice on the early stages of your case. Talk to our team today.