The workers’ compensation system only works properly if your employer actually has workers’ compensation insurance. Normally, your employer would notify their insurance company and then the insurance company would work with you to distribute your benefits. Without this insurance, your work injury can look very different.
Who is Required to Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Most employers are required to have workers’ comp insurance. However, there are a few employers that do not have this requirement. There may also be a few employees that are simply not covered under workers’ compensation.
Under Massachusetts law, your employer is required to post the name of their workers’ compensation carrier for their employees to see. You can also check whether your employer has workers’ compensation insurance by visiting www.mass.gov/dia. Click on Verify Workers’ Compensation Coverage.
If the employer does not have workers’ comp insurance when they should, then that is actually a criminal violation. If you suspect that your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance and should, you can report them to the Department of Industrial Accidents. All of these reports are anonymous.
It is actually far more common that an employer tells the employee that they do not have workers’ compensation insurance when they actually do. Instead, the employer simply may not want to make a claim.
What if the Employer Doesn’t Have Workers’ Comp Insurance?
In some states, a failure to have workers’ compensation insurance means that the employer is open to liability in a regular court of law. This is not at all advantageous for either party in most circumstances. The employer is open to more legal liability and the employee has to wait significantly longer for his or her benefits, assuming they are awarded at all.
In Massachusetts, the employee will actually be paid from a trust fund set up by the Department of Industrial Accidents. The Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund has their own lawyers who will pay employees benefits when employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance.
Then, the Trust Fund attempts to collect these funds directly from the employer. This collection process acts as a penalty of sorts, because it is likely going to cost them much more this way than it would have to just have workers’ comp insurance.
Can I Sue the Employer in Addition to Collecting from the Trust Fund?
Surprisingly, yes. Workers in Massachusetts can not only collect from the Trust Fund as if the employer has insurance, but they can also bring a civil case as well. In some situations, that actually means that the employee can recover twice!
This is a huge benefit to the employee and acts as a punishment to the employer. It is easy to see why most employers carry workers’ comp insurance as required by law. In the off chance that they do not have insurance, however, the workers’ comp lawyers at Jim Glaser Law can help you exercise all of your legal rights, both in and out of the courtroom. If you or a loved one has been injured at work, call 888-801-7398 for more information or complete our contact form.