How the ‘Prevailing Wage’ Law Impacts Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts

For any worker who’s been hurt on the job, workers’ compensation benefits can serve as an essential aid, allowing them to meet their financial obligations while they are unable to work. This can be especially vital for manual laborers with limited academic backgrounds, as they may lack the skills to take on many types of jobs that involve lighter-duty work, meaning that they may take longer to get back on the job after an injury. Whether you are a manual laborer or not, getting the workers’ compensation benefits you need often comes down to how effective you are in demonstrating your disability and your wages. To be sure you get the benefits you need, reach out to an experienced Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorney about your case.

K.A. was an example of this type of manual laborer. He did not have a college degree or a high school diploma, and he had “reading comprehension issues.” The worker had no computer skills. He had worked in manual labor fields from the age of 18 until he suffered his workplace injury in his mid 50s. At that time, K.A. injured his back while shoveling gravel on the job. The accident happened in the completion of a public construction job.

In a case like this, there are essential calculations that must be made. Typically, calculating a worker’s average weekly wages involves taking the worker’s total gross wages (including overtime and bonuses) from the previous 12 months, then dividing that number by 52. That figure is then multipled by the appropriate percentage figure depending upon the type of disability the worker suffered.

However, because K.A. was hurt on a public job site, his benefits were the result of calculating the correct “prevailing wage” rate. If you’re hurt working a prevailing wage job, there is the potential for you to be entitled to greater workers’ compensation benefits. The workers’ compensation judge concluded that K.A.’s average weekly wage was $1,175. The reviewing board, though, concluded that the judge calculated K.A.’s wages incorrectly. As one example of the incorrect calculation, the resulting wage figure did not comply with the law because it “appears to average subparts of the employee’s actual gross earnings rather than using the actual gross weekly figures that are available.”

Much of this language regarding prevailing wages, averages, subparts and so forth likely sounds extremely technical and complicated. What you can, and should, take away from this case’s outcome is that you may be entitled to substantial benefits in workers’ compensation and, if you were working on a public job site, those benefits may be even greater. Getting the total amount of benefits you truly deserve means having in-depth knowledge of the law and the workers’ compensation procedural system. Seasoned Plymouth County workers’ compensation attorney Michael S. Mehrmann has spent many years effectively representing people from across Plymouth County, including Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury in their workers’ compensation cases. To find out more about how we can help you get the benefits you deserve, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.