Massachusetts is a strict liability state. Employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover workplace injuries sustained by their employees. It’s a “no-fault” system that allows every employee to receive benefits for a job-related illness or injury no matter how it happened (with a few exceptions).
Workers’ compensation programs are designed to provide claimants with medical benefits and if certain requirements are met, temporary compensation payments until the employee is able to return to work. Permanent benefits are also possible depending on the nature of the illness or injury and the extent of the disability involved.
If your employer does not have workers’ comp insurance as it should, then your employer is open to legal liability and may actually end up paying more for workers’ injuries than if it had the workers’ compensation insurance to begin with.
Sometimes employers do have the workers’ compensation insurance but don’t inform their employees about it because they just don’t want to make any claims. Under Massachusetts law, your employer is required to post the name of its workers’ compensation carrier for you to see.
If you want to find out for yourself if you have a workers’ compensation insurance, please visit the website of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts here.
So, what if your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance? Are you out of luck if you get injured? The answer is “no” because you do have options.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund (WCTF)
If you become ill or injured and cannot work, and your employer does not have insurance, you can file a claim with the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund (WCTF). The Trust Fund has been set up by the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) to pay you benefits should your employer not have workers’ compensation insurance.
After paying you, the Trust Fund will attempt to recover the funds directly from the employer. This collection process becomes a penalty to the employer because it will probably cost more than the workers’ comp insurance would have cost.
The WCTF has sometimes been described as “the insurer of last resort” in Massachusetts and it provides the benefits an injured worker would receive if the employer was properly insured.
What about suing your employer?
In addition to applying to, and collecting from, the WCTF, you can also bring a civil case against your employer for failure to carry workers’ compensation insurance.
Through the civil court system, uninsured employers may have to cover many of your losses including medical bills, future lost earnings, and pain and suffering. This is more than would be required of workers’ compensation programs because those programs disallow claims for pain and suffering. These claims are allowed in civil court.
Call Eden Rafferty for assistance
Eden Rafferty is well known for helping clients with workers’ compensation claims. Our attorneys are successful in helping clients whose employers failed to provide such insurance. Either way, if you become ill or injured at work, let us help you get the compensation you deserve.