Employees injured on-the-job in Massachusetts often rely on workers’ compensation benefits to help them get through their recovery period. Workers’ comp can help pay employees’ medical bills, as well as a portion of lost wages. Some workers may qualify for paid re-training if a doctor determines they are unable to return to their job.
Who is an Employee?
Under state law, employees are defined as “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.” There are exceptions, including:
Taxi drivers leasing cabs on a fee basis unrelated to fares collected – as long as they are not treated as employees under federal tax law.
Boatmen engaged in interstate/foreign commerce.
Real estate and consumer goods salespeople who work on a buy/sell basis or commission, and do not work in a retail establishment.
Understanding the Law
Under Massachusetts law, employers are required to have a Notice to Employees poster displayed in the workplace, providing employees with information about workers’ compensation. If you have been injured, and are unable to earn full wages for five or more days, your employer must report your injury to their insurance company and to the state’s Department of Industrial Accidents, which oversees the workers’ compensation system. This initial filing is Form 101, the “Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality.” By law, this form must be filed within seven days from that fifth day period of your inability to earn full wages. The time frame does not include legal holidays or Sundays. Within 14 days of receipt, your employer’s insurance company conducts an investigation and determines whether or not to pay the claim.
Your employer is required to give you a copy of the report, which contains the name and address of the insurer. If your employer fails to file the report within 30 days, or if the insurance company turns you down even though you are unable to fully do your job, contact Jim Glaser Law.
It isn’t always the dramatic, one-time injuries that prevent a worker from doing his or her job. Stress injuries take their toll over time, and can make simple tasks – such as typing – painful or impossible to complete. Jim Glaser Law can help if you suffer from work-related stress injuries, including but not limited to:
Carpal tunnel syndrome
Rotator cuff tears
Neck and spinal injuries
Injuries aren’t the only work-related issues covered by workers’ compensation. If you contract a work-related illness, you are also typically eligible for workers’ compensation. An example of a work-related illness for which employees are eligible for workers’ comp is mesothelioma, a cancer related to asbestos exposure. Sometimes, work-related illnesses do not appear for many years. In those instances, you will almost certainly need expert legal help to receive compensation.
If a worker is killed on the job, dependents are usually eligible for worker’s compensation benefits.