Workers Compensation in Massachusetts
You aren’t alone if you wonder how workers comp works. 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 Massachusetts 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 Massachusetts workers’ compensation insurance and how the process works.
Workers Compensation Statistics in Massachusetts?
The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 86,000 nonfatal workplace injuries in 2019 alone in Massachusetts. In addition, the Massachusetts Occupational Health Surveillance Program states that over 40% of injuries or illnesses that occur while on the job result in lost work and wages. Construction workers had the highest amount of pay lost to injuries, and healthcare workers suffered at a higher rate than the rest of the nation. Moreover, 1 of every 25 full-time employees in Massachusetts experienced an incident that needed more medical attention than on-site first aid.
How Does Workers Comp Work in Massachusetts?
There is a standard practice to follow when going through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation process. Unfortunately, it begins with you getting sick or injured on the job. The circumstances surrounding the incident that led to the injury are especially crucial. The injury had to occur during the course of your regular work duties. It could also occur while you were performing a special task at the request of your boss.
Massachusetts requires all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the size or the number of hours worked by an employee. Only sole proprietors, partners, members of an LLC, or corporate officers with at least 25% interest in a corporation may file for an exemption with the state. The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents provides 60% of your average weekly pay for up to 156 weeks. Beneficiaries also receive reimbursement for medical bills, rehabilitation, lost wages, death benefits, scarring, and permanent loss of function or dismemberment.
The steps you take immediately following a workplace incident in Massachusetts 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 receiving help from a Massachusetts healthcare professional. This could not only jeopardize your health, but you run the risk of missing time-sensitive deadlines in the workers’ compensation process.
Even if you believe that your injury is minor, get a proper medical report detailing the extent of the damage and how it occurred. This is the first step in the workers’ compensation claim process. Absent a medical report, your employer cannot file a claim with the insurance carrier.
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. All of your medical records will become the foundation from which the workers’ comp carrier will launch its investigation. Your doctor may make the determination that the illness is 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
Once you have a medical diagnosis relating your illness or injury to your job, you must file a claim with your employer. This is the next important phase of how Massachusetts workers comp works.
Massachusetts gives employees injured on the job four years to apply for workers’ compensation. Any attempts to obtain benefits after that time may result in a denial. After seeking medical attention, report the injury to your employer right away. Once you have been disabled or unable to work for five full or partial workdays, you must submit a Form 101, Employer’s First Report of Injury/Fatality, electronically. It’s also your responsibility to file a claim with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents with copies of any necessary documentation.
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 submit a copy of the doctor’s report with the report of injury.
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. Either about the incident or to find any possible witnesses to the event. Massachusetts does not have a formal waiting period before receiving payments other than the five calendar days you must be out of work. But if the injuries are severe enough, it’s worth considering an application for permanent disability.
Why You Should Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
In learning how Massachusetts workers comp works, many people believe that the injury claims process is straightforward. While this may be the case in some instances, in others, it may be more of a hassle. For instance, your employer may question whether you were hurt on the clock or on your own time. The company may also start to question the extent of your injury. There may even arise pay disputes and long-term care dictated by the doctor. Don’t question how workers comp works and risk losing your claim. Hire a Massachusetts workers’ comp lawyer and ensure you have an advocate to fight for your rights as a victim.
Work With an Experienced Local Lawyer in Massachusetts
Your health and wellbeing need to come first. If you are hurt while working or find out an illness you are suffering is the result of your job, you will want to seek compensation. Since the workers’ compensation claims process may be tricky. You should consider getting a local attorney well versed in how to deal with it. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Massachusetts state lines. They can guide you while you continue to learn how workers comp works.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!