If an injury has ever interfered with your ability to work, you know just how stressful and debilitating it can be. Not only are you faced with seeking medical help but you also have to worry about your livelihood. Will you be missing work because of the injury and if so, how long? Serious or chronic injuries may even prevent you from ever returning to your current position or field of work. Facing medical bills, lost pay, and potential job replacement is overwhelming to say the least. Thankfully, Massachusetts workers’ compensation exists to help make ends meet in these situations. If you are covered, you simply need to inform your employer of the injury and fill out workers’ compensation forms to be on your way to claiming benefits. But are you covered; and what will be covered by Massachusetts workers’ compensation insurance?
All employees are entitled to workers compensation benefits in MA
If you are an employee and you were hurt at work or in a work-related accident, then you should receive workman’s comp in Massachusetts. There’s no discrimination when it comes to how many hours a week you work, or how long you have been employed. It could be your first day on the job, or you might work only one hour a month, you are still entitled to worker’s compensation benefits.
You are covered under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law, even if:
- You aren’t paid on the books. However, if this is the case you will have to show some proof of employment and speaking to a workman’s comp attorney is a good idea.
- You are a volunteer, intern, or someone else who works without pay. Your medical bills should still be covered by workers’ comp insurance in Massachusetts.
- You’re not a US citizen, you’re an immigrant, and/or you don’t have “papers.”
- You work for someone who doesn’t have workman’s comp insurance. Guess what? It’s completely illegal for your employer not to have workers’ comp insurance. If you’re in this situation, there are two things you can do. First, file a claim for benefits from the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund at the DIA, which is a state fund set aside to help injured employees in this situation. This probably won’t give you as many benefits as insurance would have, but it will help. Second, consult a workman’s comp lawyer about further action. You can sue your employer for not having workers comp insurance.
What does Massachusetts workers’ compensation insurance cover?
Workman’s compensation insurance can potentially cover all medical bills related to your health problem, up to 60% of lost wages, travel costs for medical care, and even job retraining if necessary. In the case of a fatal accident, death benefits are also available for your spouse and dependents. The compensation you receive depends on the severity and length of your injury.
Medical care: Every covered employee is entitled to payment of medical bills by Massachusetts workers’ compensation insurance, whether or not you even miss work from it. Just be sure to tell the doctor your injury is work-related and you will be using your workers’ comp insurance. This includes medical care for:
- Any repetitive injuries caused by the work environment – stress fractures, pulled muscles, burns, cuts, etc.
- Illness or other health problems acquired from exposure at the workplace
- Pre-existing health conditions that were worsened by the job
- Any illness or injury that happened on the job, regardless of how
- Mental health problems such as depression or anxiety proven to be caused by work
Lost pay: If your health problem causes you to miss five or more days of work, you are eligible to receive payment for up to 60% of your average weekly pay. The five days don’t have to be in a row either. If you’re health problem causes you to miss three days one week, and three the next, you’ll still be entitled to lost pay.
Travel: Any reasonable costs for travel to receive medical care.
Compensation for disability: If you’re permanently disabled and unable to return to your job, workers’ comp insurance will pay for job retraining. If you lose a body part or have permanent impairment you are entitled to be compensated.
Death: Your spouse and dependents will receive compensation in the event of a fatal incident.
When workers’ comp gets complicated
Many worker’s comp claims can be handled between you and your employer. You can also give a call to the workers compensation bureau for advice. However, most often consulting a workers’ comp lawyer might be your best bet. The following are some situations you might want to speak with an attorney:
- Your employer or their insurer are uncooperative or fight your claim.
- You’re injury was not at the workplace and it’s difficult to prove that it was work-related.
- Your injury involved third-party liability which is when someone not working for your employer causes the injury. In this event, you will receive workers’ comp but, you also have the potential to sue the third-party.