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As you decide whether to file for Massachusetts workers' 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 workers' 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 workers' 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 workers' comp?
Medical coverage: Under workers' comp medical benefits, your employer’s insurer will cover appointments, procedures, prescriptions, and travel related to your treatment.
Wage coverage: Massachusetts workers' 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 workers' comp in Massachusetts?
The money you receive through workers' 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, workers' 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, workers' 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 $335.07 and a maximum of $1,765.34 per week from 2022 to 202.
When you receive workers' 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.
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 workers' compensation fee schedule for lawyers
Massachusetts determines a set rate for lawyers to charge for handling workers' comp cases. As of February 2023, lawyers can charge the following amounts for different stages of a case:
Accepted claim without dispute: $917.13
Hearing for a new claim: $1,834.27
Challenging an illegal cutoff to benefits from the insurer: $1,283.99
Winning a hearing: $6,419.93
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 workers' comp. At Atticus, we connect people considering workers' 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.
Maximize your workers' comp benefits.
Frequently asked questions: workers’ comp in Massachusetts
How do I file a workers’ comp claim in Massachusetts?
Notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. After a five-day waiting period, they should file a claim with their insurance company. If they don’t, you can also file Form 110 with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). Learn more in our full guide to Massachusetts workers’ comp.
How much does workers’ comp pay in Massachusetts?
Workers’ comp payments in Massachusetts are worth up to 60% of your average weekly wages before your injury. In 2023, there’s also a minimum payment of $353.07 per week and a maximum payment of $1,765.34 per week. Learn more about how much workers’ comp pays in Massachusetts.
When does workers' comp start paying in Massachusetts?
There is a five-day waiting period before you’re eligible to receive workers’ comp payments and medical coverage in Massachusetts. Then your employer has seven days to file with their insurance. The insurance company must approve — and start payments — or deny your claim within 14 days of when your employer files your claim.
What should I do if my claim is denied?
According to the DIA, half of workers’ comp claims in Massachusetts are disputed or denied. If this happens, the DIA highly recommends getting a lawyer. A lawyer can help you fight for the medical benefits and payments you’re entitled to. Here’s more on what a workers’ comp lawyer does.
How long can I be on workers’ comp pay in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts workers’ comp benefits last for up to 156 weeks. Your payments will end sooner if you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI) and permanent benefits are available if you never fully recover. Our guide to how long benefits last in each state has more information.
Can I work on workers' comp in Massachusetts?
As long as you stay within your treating physician’s instructions, you can do light-duty or modified-duty work while on workers’ comp. There’s no strict limit on the number of hours you can work. Read more about working while on workers’ comp.
See what you qualify for
How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?
Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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