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Workers' compensation and partial incapacitation

The vast majority of Massachusetts residents need to work in order to raise their families and make ends meet. While the economy has recovered and many have been able to secure employment, they may still find themselves facing financial hardship if they are injured in a workplace accident. Being rendered unable to work could mean losing out on significant wages, which can knock a family off its financial foundation. These individuals may also incur significant medical debt with which it can be difficult to cope.

Fortunately, workers' compensation benefits may be available to these individuals. But what about individuals who find themselves only partially incapacitated? Those who are injured on the job, but who are still able to work, may still be able to recover workers' compensation. If one's injury forces him or her to change jobs or work fewer hours, thereby causing him or her to lose wages, then benefits may be recoverable.

Those who suffer from partial incapacitation who qualify for workers' compensation will be limited in their recovery, however. Under Massachusetts law, a partially incapacitated individual can only recover up to 75 percent of what his or her weekly benefits would be if they were rendered unable to work. These benefits can be received for up to 260 weeks, thereby giving an individual time to, hopefully, fully recover from the injury and return to full-time employment that pays what was paid prior to the injury.

The workers' compensation program can provide financial stability in a time of uncertainty. However, those hurt on the job should realize that these benefits are not automatically triggered. Instead, a claim must be filed and convincing legal arguments made. Therefore, those seeking workers' compensation may benefit from the assistance of a legal professional.

Source: Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, "Partial Incapacity Benefits," accessed on Jan. 9, 2015

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