Workers Compensation in Boston, MA
You aren’t alone if you ask “How does workers comp work?” Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that provides wage and medical benefits to people who have become ill or injured while at work. The extent of workers’ comp coverage an employer is required to carry is governed by Boston state law. Thus, in trying to figure out how workers comp works, it helps to understand the laws on the books in the state where the business operates. If the injury or illness a worker sustains is eligible for compensation, the insurance carrier should help ease the financial burden the illness or injury created on the worker. Learn some of the basic principles of Boston, MA workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Boston, Massachusetts?
As recently as 2016, fatal work injuries in Boston reached an all-time high, according to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics. Across the state, 1 in every 25 full-time workers suffered a job-related incident severe enough to need more than first-aid. Unfortunately for construction workers, they lost the most wages to injuries, according to the Massachusetts Occupational Health Surveillance Program. Almost 113,000 Boston residents work in mining, logging, and construction, so it’s worth your time to know the local numbers.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Boston, Massachusetts?
Unfortunately, going through the process of applying for workers’ compensation begins with getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to your problems are especially crucial. For example, the injury had to occur during your regular work duties. While an event that happens during your lunch break wouldn’t apply, getting into a car accident while running an errand for your boss would qualify for a claim.
A business or organization of any size in Boston must carry workers’ compensation insurance to follow state laws. Some exemptions do exist for sole proprietors or business partners. But unless a specific circumstance applies, your employer must have a policy. After approval, the Department of Industrial Accidents pays 66% of your average salary for the previous year. Medical coverage and rehabilitation services are also available for up to 156 weeks from when this starts.
For example, say your supervisor asked you to drop something off on your lunch break. While running this errand you then get in a car accident on your way to the destination. Any resulting injury is eligible for workers’ compensation. However, if you are on your lunch break, performing no such task when you get in an accident, it does not qualify for a claim.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Boston, MA are critical for purposes of filing a claim for compensation. Follow the following steps to preserve your rights and learn how workers comp works.
Get Medical Attention
After you get injured or feel ill, the first step is to see a doctor. Don’t delay seeking help from a Boston, MA healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process. Having a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occured is the first step in the process. Your employer cannot file a claim with their insurance carrier without this information.
When dealing with a job-related illness, the symptoms and diagnosis may not happen right away. You may find yourself attending regular checkups and testing for weeks or months before a doctor finally associates your illness with your job. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is either the result of your work conditions or aggravated by them. Once they do, see your human resources representative to file a workers’ compensation claim.
File a First Report of Injury
The first report of an on the job injury or illness will provide the workers’ compensation insurance carrier with the details of the events leading up to the injury. In this report, you will provide your physical injuries, the medical treatment you received and the facilities that provided it. It’s always a good idea to bring a copy of the doctor’s report to submit with the report of injury.
The moment you notice illness or injuries related to your job, seek medical attention and notify your employer. Keep detailed records of what you submit, when you send it, and who should give you answers. After missing five days of work due to a job-related incident, you must submit a Form 101 to the Department of Industrial Accidents. Failure to take action in time may result in a denial, costly legal fees, and no guarantee of obtaining reimbursement. Anyone hurt while participating in a job-related activity in Boston has up to four years to file a workers’ compensation claim. Work injuries don’t always show up immediately, so vigilance is critical.
Timeline and Other Information
The insurance carrier for an organization in Boston, MA has fourteen days to respond to a workers’ compensation claim. Payments must begin after those two weeks unless the insurer files a notification of denial. A failure to file will mean that those payments will start regardless of any objections the company may have. The catch is that if an insurance carrier starts payment within the waiting period, they may stop payments with only seven days’ notice.
Your employer should furnish you with information about the claims process. The adjuster or insurance carrier representative may want to speak to you at some point about the incident and any possible witnesses to the event. In the meantime, the workers’ comp insurer may begin paying medical benefits while the investigation into your claim continues.
Why You Should Hire a Boston, Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
While workers’ compensation claims may be straightforward for some cases in Boston, Massachusetts, in others, it may be more difficult. For example, your employer may decide to question whether you were hurt on the clock or your own time. It’s also common for a company to question the full extent of your injury. Hiring a Boston workers’ comp lawyer ensures that you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer In Boston, Massachusetts
If you are hurt or contract an illness as a result of your job in Boston, MA you need to find the right people to help. Since the workers’ compensation claims process can have pitfalls, you should consider getting a local attorney who knows how to avoid them.