Workers’ compensation is a valuable benefit for employees who are injured while performing work duties in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, many employees do not take advantage of the system due to a lack of understanding or because they believe their injuries are not serious enough to start applying for workers’ comp. This is a mistake!
If you are injured at work, workers’ compensation benefits are available to you, and you should take advantage of them by applying for workers’ comp in Massachusetts! Let’s learn more about who has access to these benefits, how to get started and receive them, and what to do when your claim is denied.
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 to be covered by workers’ compensation. If you were performing any task for your employer, such as driving a company car, you are likely still covered and should begin applying for workers’ comp.
Starting the Workers’ Compensation Process
Most employees begin the process of applying for workers’ comp 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. If you believe you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you can check your eligibility online via the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
After your employer is notified, they will complete 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 such as:
- Basic information like your address and date of birth
- When the injury or accident occurred
- What parts of your body were injured
- When you were hired
- Gross amount of your average weekly wages
- Whether you have been able to return to work
- Whether you have received any payments or benefits from the employer or an insurance carrier
Employers must complete this form within seven days of the accident and submit it to the DIA. If the employer has a workers’ compensation insurance carrier, that company will also be notified. The DIA will review the information provided and determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. If your claim is accepted, you may be eligible for medical expenses, lost wages, and other benefits related to your injury.
Receiving Workers’ Comp Benefits
If the insurance company accepts your claim, 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 you were unable to work due to your injury. Workers’ compensation 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.
However, just because you start receiving workers’ comp benefits does not necessarily mean your claim has been accepted. The insurance company can start paying while they investigate 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 decision.
Contesting a Workers’ Comp Outcome
If you believe you are eligible to apply for workers’ compensation benefits but your claim has been denied, you have the right to contest the decision. In Massachusetts, you can fill out a “Form 110” or an “Employee Claim Form” as an employee to start a contested case under workers’ comp law. This form is similar to filing a “complaint” or “petition” under regular state or federal law.
The contested case process can be complicated, so it may be helpful to hire an experienced workers’ comp attorney to represent you. An attorney can help you navigate the process, gather evidence to support your claim and advocate for your rights.
If you need assistance with a denied workers’ compensation claim, you can contact Jim Glaser Law over the phone or by filling out our online form to request a free case evaluation. Remember, you have the right to appeal a denied workers’ compensation claim and seek the benefits you may be entitled to.