When you or a loved one suffers a work-related injury, you need professional legal help. In Massachusetts, there are various laws and legal processes governing how and when workers’ compensation is paid. While it is possible to proceed without legal help, doing so is not advised. Without a deep understanding of workers’ comp law, you could make costly mistakes.
Who Must Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
For most employers, it is a violation of Massachusetts law to go without workers’ compensation insurance. According to the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), “All employers operating in Massachusetts are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees and themselves if they are an employee of their company.” The DIA further explains the requirement applies regardless of the number of employees or hours worked, except for domestic workers who must work a minimum of 16 hours per week for coverage.
Who is not Required to Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
Sole proprietors of an unincorporated business, partners of a limited liability partnership (LLP), or members of a limited liability company (LLC), do not have to carry workers’ compensation insurance for themselves. However, the exemption is not applicable to workers who are not members of the LLP or LLC — they still require coverage.
Process of Starting a Claim
A workers’ comp claim can get you compensation for medical treatment and lost wages. However, you must meet certain requirements. First, you will need to gather the necessary information, including:
- Date of injury, or illness (or death if a dependent is filing for benefits)
- The type of benefits you are seeking
- The 1st day you missed work
- The 5th day you missed work
- Types of injuries and body parts affected
- The doctor currently treating you
- The workers’ compensation insurance carrier
- Expected time out of work
- The first place that treated you
Next you will need to fill out Form 110 – Employee Claim and send a copy to the DIA and a copy to the workers’ compensation carrier. After reviewing your claim, the DIA may reject or accept your application. If the information you provided is accurate, the DIA will schedule an informal meeting with you, your attorney, the insurance carrier, and your employer to discuss your claim.
Receiving Lost Wages
The amount and duration of wage benefits you are eligible to receive through workers compensation in Massachusetts depends on the severity of your injury:
- Temporary total incapacity benefits — Your injury or illness renders you unable to work for 5 or more days. You can receive up to 60% of your pre-injury average weekly wage (AWW), capped by the state average weekly wage, for up to three (3) years, or 156 weeks.
- Partial incapacity benefits — You are still able to work but your injury has caused you to lose part of your earning capacity. You can receive a maximum of 45% of your pre- injury average weekly wage, or 60% of the difference between the pre-injury weekly wage and the current earning capacity. An injured worker can collect this benefit for up to five (5) years, or 260 weeks. However, the maximum total benefits an injurer worker can receive under both Section 34 and Section 35 is seven (7) years. The seven (7) year cap be extended in rare cases where there is significant loss of function.
- Permanent and total incapacity benefits — As a result of a work-related injury or illness, you are permanently unable to do any type of work. You can receive up to two thirds (66.67%) of your pre-injury average weekly wage, capped by the state average weekly wage, with no time limit.
A knowledgeable lawyer can review your case, determine the extent of your injuries, and help you recover the compensation you need to resume your life.
Experienced Workers’ Comp Lawyer Advocates for Healthcare Professionals
Chisholm Law LLC, is committed to guiding nurses, doctors, therapists, and other medical professionals through the workers compensation process in Beverly, MA. For a free consultation, contact the firm online, or call (978) 703-0700 to speak with an experienced lawyer today.