Permanent and Total Disability
Michael O. Smith is a Boston workers’ compensation attorney with over 15 years of experience serving injured and disabled clients. Mr. Smith represents workers who are injured or ill through all stages of their workers’ compensation claims. He can discuss your right to benefits with you, and represent you at administrative hearings if your claim has been denied. Contact us today to discuss your workers’ compensation case.Permanent and Total Disability
A person who is injured at work, or who becomes ill as a result of their work, may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. This can include coverage for medical expenses and lost wages. The amount of wages an injured or sick worker can receive is based on the degree of their disability. There are three types of weekly compensation benefits in Massachusetts: permanent and total disability, temporary total disability, and partial disability.
To qualify for permanent and total disability benefits, your work-related injury or illness must leave you unable to perform any type of work, not just your previous job. If you can perform other type of work despite your disability, your injury does not qualify as permanent and total.
In some cases, a temporary total disability will stabilize and actually be found to be permanent and total. If that happens in your case, you can file for permanent and total disability benefits even if you have not exhausted your temporary total benefits.Permanent and Total Disability Wage Benefits
If your injury qualifies as a permanent and total disability, you are entitled to receive two-thirds, or 66.7 percent, of what your average weekly wage was prior to the injury. Your average weekly wage is based on what you earned in the 52 weeks before you were injured. The amount you can receive, however, is limited to the state’s maximum weekly compensation rate. This means that you can only receive up to the state’s maximum weekly compensation rate even if two-thirds of your average weekly wage exceeds this amount. The minimum amount a worker can receive is also the state’s minimum weekly compensation rate. Both the maximum and minimum rates are set each year on October 1st.Cost-Of-Living Adjustments
Unlike other types of disabilities, there is no time limit on your permanent and total disability benefits. In other words, you may receive benefits for as long as your disability lasts. Once you begin receiving permanent and totally disability benefits, you may be entitled to cost-of-living adjustments. Massachusetts allows recipients to have their weekly benefits recalculated every year once they have received benefits for at least two years. However, there will not be an adjustment if an increase would reduce your social security benefits.Time Limit on Your Claim
Workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts must be filed within four years from the date a worker becomes aware of a causal connection between their injury or illness and work. In most injury cases, the worker will file a workers’ compensation claim immediately or soon after the accident. If your claim is based on a work-related illness, however, you may not recognize an immediate connection between your illness and your job. As soon as a connection is made, you should consult with an attorney to secure your right to workers’ compensation.Comprehensive Workers’ Compensation Representation
Boston workers’ compensation lawyer Michael O. Smith is committed to helping injured workers obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Mr. Smith is a seasoned attorney with significant experience in the area of workers’ compensation. His previous work as a claims adjuster and insurance defense attorney is invaluable in helping clients defend their claims against insurers. He can assess your claim, advise you on your rights, and offer you aggressive representation if your claim has been denied. Mr. Smith serves clients throughout Boston. Call us at 617-263-0060 or reach us online to discuss your case and schedule a consultation.