If you have suffered a partial disability due to a work-related injury, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Boston workers’ compensation attorney Michael O. Smith has substantial experience in this field, and helps disabled workers obtain the benefits they deserve. His clients have benefited from his extensive background as a trial attorney, and his previous experience as both a claims adjuster and defense lawyer. He advises and represents clients through every phase of the claims process. Contact us today to see how we can help you.Partial Disability and Benefits
If you were injured at work, you may qualify for partial disability benefits if you can work, but not at the same level or performing the same duties as you could before your injury or illness. A partial disability diminishes your earning capacity because you must reduce your work hours or change jobs because of your disability.
If you have a partial disability, you can receive sixty percent of the difference between your average weekly wage before the injury and the wage you are capable of earning after the injury. Your weekly benefits cannot be more than 75 percent of what you would receive if you were eligible for temporary total benefits .
The wage a worker is capable of earning is the greater of:
- Your actual weekly earnings;
- What you can earn from the job you had when you were injured (if it is available to you and you can perform it);
- What you can earn in a particular suitable job (if it is available to you and you can perform it);
- What you are capable of earning.
A job is considered “suitable” if you can physically and mentally perform it given the nature and severity of your injury, so long as it has a reasonable relationship to your work experience, education, or training.Extension of Benefits
You can receive weekly wage benefits for 260 weeks, or up to five years. However, benefits may be extended for up to 364 weeks, or seven years, for a worker that receives both partial and temporary total disability benefits.
There is also an extension for a permanent partial disability. An insurer may agree, or a judge may decide, to extend your benefits if you:
- Permanently lost at least 75 percent of certain bodily functions or senses (such as eyesight or the use of a hand);
- Developed a permanent, life-threatening physical condition; or
- Contracted a permanent, disabling occupational disease.
Benefits may be extended for up to 520 weeks, or ten years, for a permanent partial disability.Vocational Rehabilitative Services
You may also qualify for vocational rehabilitative services. The Office of Education and Vocational Rehabilitation (OEVR) will contact you if it believes you may need its services. It is vital that you attend any meetings with OEVR to avoid reductions in your benefits. Massachusetts allows insurers to reduce weekly wage benefits by 15 percent for any worker that refuses vocational rehabilitation services. This can also impact any potential lump sum settlement between you and the insurer. Massachusetts bars a worker and insurer from entering into any agreement for a lump sum settlement if the worker has not completed an appropriate rehabilitation program without the OEVR’s express written consent.Client-Focused Advocacy
Boston workers’ compensation lawyer Michael O. Smith can provide the representation you need to seek workers’ compensation benefits. Mr. Smith can review your case and advise you on your right to benefits. If your claim has been denied, he can represent you through every step of the dispute process. He gives each case the attention it deserves, and is committed to providing exceptional service to each client. Mr. Smith works with clients from throughout Boston. Call us at 617-263-0060 or contact us online for an initial consultation at no cost to you.