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Does Your Employer Play a Role in Your Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Absolutely yes.

The employer is responsible for the appropriate form to be filed correctly and on time. Even if the form is rejected because of incomplete information or mistakes in the report, it is their job to re-file the form with all the correct information as quickly as possible.

Proper Paper Work

Employers are required from the beginning to notify their employees of the name of the Workers’ Compensation insurance carrier. Employers operating without Workers’ Compensation insurance will be issued a Stop Work Order by the DIA Office of Investigations. Fines accrue each day until insurance coverage becomes effective, and the fine must be paid in full to release the Stop Work Order. Additionally, an employer may be subject to criminal sanctions, including not more than one-year imprisonment and/or up to a $1500 fine upon conviction if they are operating without the proper insurance.

Your Employer Must Carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance

Uninsured employers are also subject to debarment from public contracts for a period of three years. If an employer fails to carry Workers’ Compensation coverage and employee is injured on the job, that employee may be eligible to receive compensation from the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund, however the DIA’s Legal Department will make every effort on behalf of the Trust Fund to collect those moneys from the noncompliant employer.

Worker Benefits

An injured worker becomes eligible for weekly compensation benefits when they are not able to earn wages for five full or partial calendar days as result of a work-related injury or illness. The days of loss do not have to be consecutive. At this point, the employer is required by law to file the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality (Form 101).

The Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality (Form 101) must be submitted to the DIA, the insurance carrier and the employee. This form must be sent to the DIA within seven calendar days (not including Sundays and legal holidays) from the fifth full or partial day the employee has been disabled.

Only if the case involves a Sec. 28, Wilful Misconduct of Employer, will a notification of the Conciliation, Conference, and Hearing date and time be sent to the employer, who must attend these proceedings as they happen.

Other Options

In many cases, an insurer and injured worker will agree to settle a case through a Lump Sum Settlement. This one-time payment is made in place of weekly compensation checks. Under the Workers’ Compensation law, employers with an experience modification that could be affected by the settlement must give written consent for the settlement between the insurer and the employee.

Returning to Work

The employer is involved in the rehiring of the injured worker. The benefit of returning an injured worker back to work for their employer, whether it is on light duty or through modifications in the workplace or work hours, would be an improved Workers’ Compensation history and a modification of their insurance rates. State law prohibits an employer in Massachusetts from firing, refusing to hire, rehire, or promote or otherwise discriminate against a qualified handicapped person on account of that person’s handicap. Unless a union contract or the individual’s contract of hire requires it, an employer does not have to hold an injured worker’s job open while they are unable to work due to an occupational accident or illness. State law does require employers to give preferential treatment in the rehiring of injured workers when they are ready to return to work, provided there is a job available that the employee is capable of doing.

The Workers’ Compensation Program is meant to be a working partnership between workers, their employee’s, and the state. When everyone follows the rules, it works well for everyone.

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