Section 36 - Loss of Function, Scarring & Disfigurement
If you’re receiving Workers Compensation benefits, you’re not entitled to any money for pain and suffering. However, some industrial accidents and work injuries do leave workers with permanent disfigurements. This can be a scar, loss of function, or even the loss of a body part. In these instances, Section 36 of the Massachusetts Workers Compensation Law allows the injured employee to get specific additional compensation depending on the type and severity of the injury.
How much compensation you’re eligible for is based on the type of injury and the Statewide Average Weekly Wage (SAWW). This means that high earning workers and low earning workers who are receiving different Workers Compensation amounts receive the same level of benefit under Section 36. So whether you’re receiving a $400 Workers Compensation check or a $1200 Workers Compensation check, your Section 36 benefits are the same.
At the same time, how much you get depends on the severity of your injury. While the statute calls for maximum amounts for total losses of use or function, someone who has a partial permanent loss may be entitled to a lesser amount, depending on how severe or significant the loss is. So, someone who loses 50% of their vision, use of their leg, or any similar injury might be eligible for 50% of whatever the statute establishes as the maximum benefit.Types of Section 36 Benefits
Here are some of the injuries that are compensable under Section 36.
- Loss of Eye/Vision in One Eye: SAWW x 39 for total loss of vision in one eye, or loss of the eye itself.
- Loss of Eye/Vision in Two Eyes: SAWW x 96 for total loss of vision in two eyes, or the loss of both eyes.
- Partial Reduction in Vision: SAWW x 7 for losses of vision that are able to be fixed with glasses or contact lenses.
- Total Loss of Hearing in One Ear: SAWW x 29 for total loss of hearing in one ear.
- Total Loss of Hearing in Two Ears: SAWW x 77 for total loss of hearing in both ears
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Major Arm: SAWW x 43 for a total loss.
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Minor Arm: SAWW x 39 for a total loss.
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Both Arms: SAWW x 96 for a total loss.
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Major Hand: SAWW x 34 for a total loss .
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Minor Hand: SAWW x 29 for a total loss.
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Both Hands: SAWW x 77 for a total loss.
- Amputation or Loss of Use of One Leg: SAWW x 39
- Amputation or Loss of Use of Both Legs: SAWW x 96
- Loss of Bodily Function or Sense: Up to SAWW x 32, subject to the above limits.
- Bodily Disfigurement: Maximum of $15,000, but only available for scarring that is on the face, neck, or hands.
If you were injured on the job and were left with a permanent injury that limits you, you may be entitled to Section 36 benefits. To get those benefits, it’s important to have an experienced Lowell Workers Compensation lawyer that can get the proof you need to present your claim. An experienced lawyer will send you to a doctor to evaluate your permanency and provide a permanency rating. If scarring is an issue, your attorney may coordinate with a photography to get proof for the insurance company to use.
Just because Section 36 benefits are limited, it doesn’t mean you and your attorney should give up on them. The Lowell Workers Compensation Lawyers at Marcotte Law Firm do everything we can to get you every penny you deserve. Our lawyers understand that your body will be limited forever, and you should be compensated for that.