Workers’ comp is a great benefit for employees who are injured while carrying out work duties in Massachusetts. However, many employees do not use the system because they may not understand it or do not think that they are injured seriously enough to bother with it. This is a huge mistake! The benefit is available for you if you are injured at work, so why not take advantage of it?
Who Can Receive Workers’ Comp?
Workers’ compensation benefits are available to any worker who was injured either while they were at work or while they were performing duties for their employer. The injury does not have to occur at your physical place of employment for it to be covered under workers’ compensation. If you were carrying out any task for your employer, you are likely still covered.
Starting the Workers’ Compensation Process
Most employees will start the workers’ compensation process by informing their employer that they were injured at work. This injury should prevent you from working for the equivalent of at least five full or partial calendar days.
After your employer is notified, they will fill out a “First Report of Injury” form or a “Form 101.” This form notifies the Division of Industrial Accidents (“DIA”) about you and your injury. It includes information like:
- Basic information like your address and date of birth
- When the injury or accident occurred
- What parts of your body have been injured
- When you were hired
- Gross amount of your average weekly wages
- Whether you have been able to return to work
Employers must fill out this form within seven days of the accident and submit it to the DIA. If the employer has a workers’ comp insurance carrier, then that company is notified as well.
Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
If the insurance company accepts your claim, then you should receive a “Form 103” or “Insurer’s Notification of Payment.”
You should start receiving benefits within three or four weeks after your injury. These benefits are for lost wages for the time that you were unable to work due to your injury. Workers’ comp benefits will likely not be the full amount of your lost wages while you were unable to work. Your medical bills should also be covered if your claim is accepted.
Even though you may start receiving workers’ comp benefits, that does not necessarily mean that your claim has been accepted. The insurance company can start paying while they are investigating the claim for up to 180 days, and sometimes longer. If your claim is denied, the insurance company is required to notify you of that as well.
Contesting Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you do not believe that your employer has filled out and submitted the First Report of Injury, then you, as an employee, can fill out a “Form 110” or an “Employee Claim Form.” Filing out this form starts a contested case under workers’ comp law in Massachusetts. It is similar to filing a “complaint” or “petition” under regular state or federal law.
Employees only fill out this form when they think that they should be getting workers’ compensation benefits and they are not, or they think that they should be getting more benefits. This process can be tricky, so getting an experienced workers’ comp attorney can be extremely helpful.