To protect workers who are injured on the job, Massachusetts passed workers’ compensation laws. Workers’ compensation pays for the medical expenses of a worker who is injured in a workplace accident. The system also pays other benefits depending on the circumstances of the case. Workers’ comp covers most workers; however, there are some exceptions. Workers’ compensation does not typically cover you if you are:
- A real estate agent earning a commission;
- A seaman working in foreign or interstate commerce;
- A taxi driver working as an independent contractor;
- Other independent contractors;
- Sales people who earn income based on sales instead of hours worked;
- Some professional athletes whose contract provides for payment of wages during disability caused by the sport;
- A business owner, unless you purchased workers’ compensation insurance that covers you in addition to your employees; or,
- Injured while performing any activity that is not within the normal scope of your job duties.
To qualify to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must:
- Be injured on the job;
- Working for another person;
- While performing duties within the scope of your employment; and,
- Your employer has a workers’ compensation insurance policy from an authorized insurer.
In addition, you are covered even if you are a volunteer or you work part-time. You can still receive workers’ comp benefits if you are not a citizen or you are an immigrant worker.
You Must File a Timely Workers’ Comp Claim
If you are injured at work, you must report the injury to your employer as soon as possible. For injuries that require immediate medical attention, go to the emergency room and then report the accident when your condition is stable. Reporting your claim immediately helps in establishing your claim. By law, you have up to four years to file for workers’ comp benefits in Massachusetts. However, waiting to report your injury and file your claim can make receiving benefits very difficult. It is much more challenging to prove your injury or illness occurred at work if you wait to report the incident to your employer and file your claim.
When your injury results in at least five partial or full missed days at work, your employer is required to file an injury report. You should receive a copy of the injury report from your employer. The law requires an employer to file the form within seven days of the fifth day of lost time from work. The workers’ compensation insurance company then has 14 days to investigate the claim and either deny the claim or begin paying benefits.
What Do I Do If My Employer Does Not File a Claim?
If your employer refuses to file the form within 30 days of the injury, you can report the injury yourself to the insurance company. Your employer must place a poster with the name and contact information for its workers’ compensation insurance carrier. If your employer refuses to provide this information or refuses to file a claim, contact our office immediately to discuss the matter with a Boston workers’ compensation attorney.
You are entitled to receive benefits if you meet all eligibility requirements for workers’ comp benefits. Employers who fail to obey the law by providing workers’ comp insurance or file a valid workers’ compensation claim can be subject to sanctions.