In Massachusetts, when an individual is injured during the course and scope of their employment and as a result, is unable to return to the workforce, they are entitled to receive 60% of their pre-accident average weekly wage along with medical expense coverage and limited additional benefits such as compensation for scarring, loss of function and funeral expense payments. If the individual is able to demonstrate that they are “permanently and totally” disabled as a result of their work injury, this percentage will increase to 66 2/3% of their average weekly wage. The main benefit to workers compensation benefits is that the issue of negligence is irrelevant to a workers entitlement to benefits. Unlike personal injury claims, even if the injury was due to the employees own negligence, they are still entitled to these benefits as long as they were working at the time of the injury.
At Sheff Law, we are associated with some of the most experienced and knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys in Massachusetts who are experts in obtaining maximum benefits for workers injured on the job. These individuals have extensive experience with Massachusetts General Law Chapter 152, the “workers compensation statute” and with practicing law at the Department of Industrial Accidents. Many people don’t realize that when an employee is injured on the job, many times the employer will either contest that they were working at the time of their injury or the rate at which they are entitled to weekly benefits. In such cases, the injured worker would be required to file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents in order to seek redress for these grievances. When a claim is filed it involves a multi-stage process beginning with Conciliation, followed by Conference, Hearing and, ultimately, the appeals process. Our affiliates all have extensive experience practicing at the Department of Industrial Accidents and many even teach courses to other lawyers regarding this practice. It has been the collective experience at Sheff law that an injured worker is only able to obtain the maximum benefits for their work-related injuries with the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The insurance companies have attorneys advising them and you should as well if you want to obtain all benefits to which you may be entitled.
In addition to the claims process described above, there are other complications for which an experienced attorney can provide assistance to the injured employee. One such situation involves the “utilization review” process which deals with authorization required by the workers compensation insurance company for medical evaluations, treatment and medications. Even when the injured worker is receiving their weekly wage benefits, they are often still faced with roadblocks established by the insurance industry which make it very difficult to obtain the medical treatment they need. These issues can become a major source of aggravation for the injured employee but one that can be easily resolved if they are represented by an experienced workers compensation attorney.
We often work in conjunction with these attorneys in order to provide our clients with both our expertise in the third party claims and their expertise in workers compensation claims. This allows Sheff Law to utilize a team approach to pursuing the full range of our clients’ claims, all without adding any additional fees to our clients.