State law determines who can file Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims and draw benefits. Anyone with a workplace illness or injury in this state may potentially qualify for medical benefits and lost wage payments. Below, we’ll review state program trends from 2014-2018 and list the steps to file your application for benefits.
Which Employees Cannot Qualify for Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation?
Nearly all workers in this state have Massachusetts workers’ compensation coverage the day they start their jobs. This typically covers part-time, full-time and even temporary or seasonal workers. Even independent contractors frequently have workers’ comp coverage, due to the state’s specific laws. Here are the only exceptions from this mandatory insurance coverage:
- Federal workers (i.e., postal carriers)
- Domestic workers employed less than 16 hours each week
- Sole proprietors of unincorporated companies
- Realtors that work in commission-only sales positions
- Drivers that pay fees to lease their taxis, in some cases
How to Apply for Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Benefits
If you get hurt or sick on the job, Massachusetts workers’ compensation pays all related medical bills. In some cases, it also pays partial wages while you take time off to recover from your accident. Here are the steps to file your claim:
- Immediately report your workplace accident to your supervisor and seek medical attention. The statute of limitations says you must file your claim within 4 years of your accident to qualify for benefits. Unless your accident forces you to miss 5+ days of work, your employer files a medical-only Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. This means your employer’s insurer covers all your injury-related medical bills but pays no additional benefits.
- Once you miss at least 5 full or partial work shifts, you should then qualify for lost wage payments. After your fifth day off to recover, your employer must notify the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) within 7 days. Your employer must then file Form 101, Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality with the DIA and their insurer.
- Your employer’s insurer has 14 days from the Form 101 filing date to approve or deny your claim. If approved, expect your first lost wage payment about 3-4 weeks after your accident. Unless you miss at least 21 days of work, those first missed work shifts count as unpaid time off.
- If denied, contact the DIA to appeal and schedule a Conciliation meeting. You should get a denial letter explaining why sent to you via certified mail. The DIA states insurers and employers dispute about half of all Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims.
Every Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim is different, so your own process may vary. For more information, read the Injured Workers’ Guide to Workers’ Compensation.
Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Program Statistics, 2014-2018
The annual workers’ compensation program report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) highlights program data from most U.S. states. You can view total claims, data for specific employment sectors and how many people received work restrictions or changed jobs. Our interactive chart below shows how the Massachusetts workers’ compensation program changed between 2014 and 2018:
See the large spike in total Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims from 2017 to 2018? In that year alone, workers’ comp claims grew 22% compared to the previous 12-month period. Injured workers in the service-industry sector filed 8% more claims in 2018 compared to 2014. This is important, as service-industry workers file the vast majority of Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims every year. In fact, that group filed 3 out of every 4 workers’ comp claims in 2017! Otherwise, the service-industry sector files anywhere from 60%-68% of workman’s comp claims each year. Another striking shift over this five-year period is how many injured people received job transfers, restrictions or missed work. That number fell 18% between 2014 and 2017.
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
About half the people filing Massachusetts workers’ compensation claims need an attorney to receive all the benefits they deserve. The state’s own website recommends hiring an attorney if you appeal or don’t hear back within 30 days. However, the DIA cannot legally recommend or refer an attorney to help you resolve your dispute.
We can match you with the closest workers’ comp attorney who’s available to help you today. Sign up for a free phone call now and get answers to your specific workers’ comp claim questions! This phone call happens within one business day, so you don’t need to leave your home. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get legal advice that applies to your situation.
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