Disfigurement injury and workers' comp in Massachusetts

Like countless others forms of insurance, workers' compensation is a safeguard that few people in Worcester ever have to think about - that is, until they need to use it. Workplace accidents and injuries can happen in any workplace, from factories to offices to the great outdoors. In any event, when a Massachusetts worker is injured on the job, he or she can benefit greatly from workers' compensation benefits.

Behind fatal accidents, one of the worst types of workplace incidents a worker can experience is an event causing disfigurement. A worker injured in this manner could face severe medical problems - as well as medical expenses - in addition to emotional trauma. Massachusetts lawmakers recently took steps to address this topic when members of the state senate approved a bill to expand the scope of certain workplace injuries related to disfigurement, which would be covered under workers' comp.

The bill, known as S 2033, was approved 36 to 1 last month and increases the scope of covered disfigurement to include injuries anywhere on a worker's body. Previously, disfigurement coverage extended only to scars on an injured party's face, hands or neck. Senator Sal DiDomenico noted that the pain and suffering experienced by disfigurement victims is essentially the same no matter which part of their body is affected.

The bill also increases the amount of benefits the disfigured worker would receive; currently, there is a cap of $15,000 on benefits. The new bill would alter benefits to be 22.5 percent of a weekly average salary. Last year, over 1,900 workers in the state received disfigurement benefits; about $300,000 was awarded to these work accident victims.

Source: Masslive.com, "Massachusetts Senate passes workplace disfigurement, wage violation bills," Michael Norton and Colin A. Young, Oct. 22, 2015