The Workers’ comp system is designed to protect Massachusetts’s workforce. If you are injured at work, you should be able to have your medical expenses covered and have certain benefits while you are unable to work. These laws are specifically designed to be easy to use for workers to help protect them and their families. There are a few more things that you should know about this system so you can assert your rights and receive your benefits.
Workers’ Comp Regulation and Oversight
In Massachusetts, the Department of Industrial Accidents will handle workers’ comp claims. Usually, this government agency will not get involved unless there is a dispute between the worker and their employer or insurance company. This agency is the entity that you would use if you are not getting the benefits that you should be or if the insurance company is denying your claim. However, the laws that govern this agency and the workers’ comp system are created by the Massachusetts legislature. Nonetheless, the agency may create rules or regulations.
Timing and Reporting Requirements
You must report your injury to your employer as soon as you can after the accident, or after you realize that your condition may be work-related. Not every injury is obviously work-related right away, including repetitive injuries or gradual illnesses. As soon as your doctor (or you) indicates that the condition might be work related, you should tell your employer. Your employer then has seven days (excluding holidays and Sundays) to report the injury to their insurance company.
You actually have four years after the date of the injury to report it to the insurance company. However, the longer you wait, the more likely the insurance company is to determine that your injury is not work-related. The clock does not start ticking here until you realize that the injury and your work are actually related, so if you did not understand this connection right away, your claim is not completely lost!
Employer Insurance Requirements
Most employers in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, but there are certain exceptions. These exceptions might apply if you work in certain sectors or if your employer is very small. If you are injured at work and your employer does not have workers’ comp insurance, then you may still be able to get benefits. Massachusetts has what is called a “Special Trust Fund” that is specifically designed for injured workers who have been hurt at work, but their employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Usually, workers can also sue their employers directly if they do not carry this insurance as well. This is unlike an employer who carries workers’ comp insurance because you cannot claim workers’ compensation benefits and sue your employer at the same time.
Hiring an Attorney for Workers’ Comp
You may wonder whether you need to hire an attorney for your workers’ compensation claim. In many situations, you can go through the process without an attorney. However, if a dispute arises, then having a workers’ comp attorney can be very helpful. If you are having trouble with your workers’ comp claim, then call 781-689-2277 for the legal support you need or complete our online contact form.