A basic guide to workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts
Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system is designed to help workers receive prompt payment after receiving an injury or job related illness.
Workers’ compensation is a system that is put in place to benefit both injured workers and employers. The system is designed to provide workers with prompt payment and to shield employers from lawsuits. Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system requires all employers to provide insurance coverage to all employees.
If an employee suffers an injury while working or develops a work related illness, these benefits are designed to cover compensation for missed work along with most of the costs of treatment and rehabilitation. Having a basic understanding of how the system works can help injured workers navigate through the system and receive the benefits they are entitled to.
Workers’ compensation basics in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, workers’ compensation claims are handled by the Department of Industrial Accidents, or DIA. According to the DIA, all employers in the state who have at least one employee must carry workers’ compensation insurance.
The process begins when an employer files a claim for benefits with the employer’s insurance carrier. This must be done within seven working days after the fifth day that an employee misses work due to injury or illness. The insurance company than files a report with the DIA and provides a copy of the claim to the injured worker. The insurance company has 14 days to conduct an investigation of the claim and make a decision on whether or not to pay the claim. After the decision is made, the injured worker will be notified if the claim was accepted or denied.
Unfortunately, denied claims are not uncommon. Those who receive a denial can appeal the ruling. In order to dispute this ruling a form must be filed. Since claims can be denied, it is wise for those who are injured or suffer an illness to keep a file of all information they receive from their employer or the insurer. These may be needed to help build a case for an appeal. Once the appeal form is submitted, the DIA will hear the injured worker’s claim and make a ruling. Generally, victims receive payment approximately two weeks after a final determination is made.
Legal counsel can help
Navigating through a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts can be difficult. As a result, those who are injured and filing an initial claim or who recently received a denial and are moving forward with the appeals process are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. An attorney will guide you through these issues, as well as any additional issues that could arise.
Keywords: workers’ compensation