When you are injured due to another person’s negligence or bad decisions, you have a right to stake a legal claim against them in court. Likewise, when you are injured at your job, you have a right to seek legal recourse against your employer. Your employer has an obligation to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event that you are involved in an accident and injured within the scope of your employment. If your employer does not have the requisite insurance at the time of your injury, there are other avenues to collect money for medical expenses incurred and lost wages.
What Insurance is my Employer Required to Carry?
Massachusetts has very strict workers’ compensation laws, which serve to the benefits of employees. With very few limited exceptions, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. The employer is required to post notice regarding this insurance in a visible place for employees to view. This insurance must extend to directors, managers, and owners if they are also employees of the company or entity.
The fact that your employer has workers’ compensation insurance does not immediately mean that you are covered with regards to workplace accidents. You, as an employee, have obligations too. Although you have up to four years after the date of the accident (or the employer becomes aware of the connection between the disability and employment), you will be entitled to compensation only for hours you missed due to the injury and after four years, this can be difficult to prove through documentation alone. It is always in your best interest to report an injury as soon as possible to your employer. Your employer’s insurance company may require you to visit a specific provider and may require additional documentation to receive full coverage. You generally may receive a portion of the wages you would have earned, had you not missed work due to your injury.
What if my Employer Does Not Have Workers’ Compensation Insurance?
If you’re injured on the job and your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you are still able to receive workers’ compensation benefits through the Department of Industrial Accidents Trust Fund (“DIA Trust Fund”). The DIA Trust Fund will pay your lost wage workers’ compensation benefits and medical benefits just like a private workers’ compensation insurer. In addition to being able to receive workers’ compensation benefits through the DIA Trust Fund, you are able to file a lawsuit against your uninsured employer and receive full tort damages – including compensation for pain and suffering. Under the Massachusetts workers’ compensation law, the uninsured employer cannot raise the defense of contributory or comparative negligence in the civil lawsuit. This is part of the penalty employers face when they fail to purchase a workers’ compensation insurance policy.
If you were injured at work, you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer immediately whether or not your employer was insured and even if you are receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Only an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can tell you if you are receiving your full workers’ compensation benefits and ensure that all your legal rights are protected.
Boston Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Understanding how workers’ compensation works and what you are entitled to if you are injured on the job is critical in maintaining your finances after an accident or injury in the workplace. John J. Sheehan, an experienced workers’ compensation attorney, can provide you with peace of mind that your claim will be filed accurately and thoroughly, and that he will advocate to ensure that you receive the compensation you are entitled to under relevant law. If you think that you have a right to workers’ compensation, even if your claim has been denied in the past, contact our Boston office today.