In Massachusetts, when a worker is injured on-the-job, he or she is generally eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Workers’ compensation is an insurance program designed to replace lost wages and cover the cost of medical expenses when an individual is injured in the course of employment. Certain medical costs may not be covered, depending on the worker’s jurisdiction. In Massachusetts, for example, workers are not eligible to receive benefits for scarring injuries to the arms, legs, and torso. However, due to a recent case involving a metal worker that was severely burned after falling into a vat of chemicals, this may soon change. Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney Today.
Sylbert Stewart, a 56-year-old Lowell resident, suffered second and third degree burns on both legs and feet while working at a factory in Belmont. Today, Stewart is permanently scarred and in constant pain. His injuries resulted in a 40% decrease in earnings, and he has received no compensation for the scarring injuries. In Massachusetts, disfiguring injuries must occur on the face, hands, and neck in order for the worker to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, recent advocacy from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety & Health members and allies may have had enough of an impact to change this requirement. In late October, a Senate bill was approved 36 to 1 that would allow scarring victims to receive compensation for their injuries, regardless of where on the body the injuries occurred. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Sean Garballey, would remove the face, hands, and neck requirement and would increase the victim’s compensation to 22.5 times the average weekly wage in Massachusetts. Continue reading