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When you are injured on the job, taking time off work is often necessary. Your doctor may recommend going on workers’ compensation until you are ready to go back and there is safe and appropriate work available. In the meantime, you have to pay your bills and take care of your family. Replacement wage benefits are intended to provide financial support during your recovery.
Every employer in Massachusetts is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. When you are injured and put in a claim for benefits, you will be paid by the insurer, not your employer. The insurer, however, must comply with certain legal guidelines.
Start of Benefits
You will get your first wage replacement benefit checks within three to four weeks. You will only receive payment for the first five days of your time off work if you are away from the job for at least three weeks (21 calendar days or more).
However, just because you start receiving checks does not mean the insurer has agreed to your claim. The company has six months to choose to reduce your benefits or to deny your claim altogether. In some instances, they may ask you to extend this period up to one year. You do not have to agree to this.
Your doctor, attorney, employer and insurer’s doctor will all have a say as to when you are ready to go back to work. In the event you must stay on workers’ compensation, you may receive benefits for up to three years.
Amount of Benefits
Replacement wage benefits are calculated based on your previous income. You can receive up to 60 percent of your previous wages if you are entirely unable to work. This is subject to the minimum and maximum weekly wage benefits set by the state of Massachusetts, which change every year. As of October, 2016, the minimum weekly benefit is $258.35 and the maximum $1,291.74.
Replacement wage benefits do not include other reimbursements you may receive. You can get money for medical bills and, in the case of some serious injuries, other damages.
If the Insurer Denies Your Claim
Even if the insurance company has been paying benefits, it may suddenly decide to deny your claim or pay you less money. The company is required to send you Form 104, “Insurer’s Notification of Denial.” However, if the company decides to take this step, you still have options.
At any point during your workers’ compensation claim, you can get assistance from an attorney. You may appeal a denial, reduction in benefits, or being pushed to go back to work too early. To learn more, contact Konstantilakis Law P.C.
Many people in Massachusetts reach a point where debt is unmanageable. Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection is designed for honest individuals who simply need to start over. Filing for bankruptcy is a strictly regulated legal process, however, according to the federal Bankruptcy Code and Massachusetts law. If you need advice on whether bankruptcy is right for you, an attorney can help.
Your Assets and Debts During Bankruptcy
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of your assets are turned over to your trustee, who will sell them to pay your creditors. Once your bankruptcy is over, you are no longer responsible for those debts. Some debts, like child support, you can’t discharge through bankruptcy, and you can retain some assets like veterans’ benefits.
Before you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to meet certain requirements. For example, you must complete an approved credit counseling course within six months before filing and present a certificate of completion to the court. If you fail to do so, a court may reject your request.
In order to qualify for bankruptcy, you must show the court your income is below the median for a Massachusetts household of your size. This is called the “means test.” Sometimes, figuring out the size of your household is not easy, and a lawyer can help. For example, you may have children attending college who only live with you part-time. The bigger your household, the greater your income may be and still permit filing for bankruptcy. Even if your income is higher than the median, you may still qualify for bankruptcy if you prove it is not an abuse of bankruptcy protection.
Process of Obtaining Chapter 7
Because bankruptcy is complicated and has serious legal consequences, Massachusetts courts recommend individuals hire a bankruptcy attorney to assist with filing. Your lawyer will help you fill out the official bankruptcy forms and put together supporting documentation. The courthouse staff are not allowed to give legal advice, nor can the judge act as your legal counsel.
You will need to file detailed financial information with the court as part of your bankruptcy petition, including your income, assets, liabilities, expenditures and a list of creditors. Under both Massachusetts and federal law, some of your assets are exempt from bankruptcy liquidation. You may be able to keep your home, your car and most of your wages.
Bankruptcy is a scary thought for many people. But it is a sound option in the right circumstances. To learn more about how an attorney can help protect your interests during bankruptcy, contact Konstantilakis Law P.C.
Entering into a divorce can be a fairly uncertain time for anyone, even if you took the time to plan ahead with a divorce attorney. To find that you and your spouse agree on all the major provisions of your divorce agreement can be a welcome relief. Uncontested divorcesprovide people a variety of benefits that contested divorces simply cannot provide – but they might also bring a false sense of security.
How an Uncontested Divorce Benefits You
The court is going to charge you for its time and attention. It will also not bend its own schedule around your own, so you could end up waiting weeks or more in between hearings if you need more than one. Since no one wants to fight for this or that in an uncontested divorce, you should, in theory, only need to go to the court once to have your divorce approved and finalized. This cuts down on time, money, and energy that would’ve been drained or stretched thin in any other sort of divorce.
The Uncontested Divorce That Wasn’t
For a divorce to be considered uncontested, both spouses need to review the divorce agreement proposed by the petitioner and agree that everything “sounds fine.”
Some aspects that require agreement include:
- Child custody
- Child support
- Property division
However, many people only agree to an uncontested divorce because they want to avoid delays or because they don’t understand their rights fully. Neither situation is ideal, as an uncontested divorce should only be used when both spouses actually like what the divorce agreement entails. Once people actually take the time to think about what they are giving up in an uncontested divorce, or once they learn about the property and parental rights they actually have, many uncontested divorces disappear and a contest begins.
If you are entering a divorce and it looks like it is going to be uncontested, don’t just hope it is and hope for the best. Instead, work with Konstantilakis Law PC and our Peabody divorce attorney, who can review your divorce agreement to ensure you are not missing out by quickly signing the first draft sent to you. With our firm’s help, you can uphold your best interests, with or without the need to escalate the case into a contested divorce.
Contact our firm today for a free initial consultation.
Have you been hurt on the job?
Are you unsure about what to do next?
Are you concerned about loosing your job if you tell your employer you were injured while
Thousands of employees are injured on the job each year in Massachusetts. You are not alone. The law provides for replacement wages and the payment of your medical bills and attorney fees by your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer while you are under the care of your treating physician. So, why are you still worried about how your workplace accident might affect your finances and well being?
Often, we fear what we don’t understand and are unsure about whether an insurance company is looking out for your best interests. This is why you need a qualified and aggressive Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney to represent you in your workers’ compensation claim.
The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees the Workers’ Compensation system in Massachusetts. A complex system of state laws and regulations are available to protect workers hurt on the job. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will guide you through the process by explaining your rights and options. Even if you have begun the journey through the workers’ compensation system on your own and have questions or have had your replacement wages stopped by the insurer, you still have the option of talking with one of our qualified workers’ compensation attorneys confidentially and at no cost to you.
Call, click or stop by today for your free consultation.