This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone.
When you’re injured on the job, you’re typically entitled to compensation in the form of workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are a few circumstances in which an injured worker is not covered by an employer through workers’ comp insurance.
If your employer doesn’t carry workers’ compensation insurance, your situation likely falls into one of three categories.
Your Employer Should Carry Work Comp but Doesn’t
Most employers in Massachusetts are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This not only ensures injured workers will get compensation until they are able to return to work, but also that employers are protected against lawsuits from injured employees.
However, if an employer fails to carry work comp insurance in accordance with state law, then you have two options to get compensation: You can file a lawsuit against your employer for the work injury-related costs you’ve suffered, or you can file a traditional workers’ compensation claim, which, if successful, will be paid by the state and, eventually, reimbursed via your employer.
You’re Classified as an Independent Contractor
When you work as an independent contractor, you don’t have the same legally guaranteed benefits as a worker who is classified as an employee. In some cases, independent contractors even sign a contract that makes filing a lawsuit for workplace injuries incredibly difficult.
However, even if you signed an agreement not to sue with the company you work for, you might still be able to get compensation if your injury was caused by a third party. This is most common in industries like construction, where workers are often classified as independent contractors and several third parties (property owners, equipment manufacturers, motorists) can potentially be responsible for injuries the construction worker suffers.
You’re Misclassified as an Independent Contractor
Sometimes, workers are classified as independent contractors, even though they’d be more appropriately classified as employees of a company. To classify a worker as a contractor in Massachusetts, employers must show that the work being done is:
- performed without the direction and control of the employer
- performed outside the usual course of the employer’s business; and
- performed by someone who has their own, independent business or trade doing that kind of work.
There are also other indicators that you are misclassified. For example, if the company you work for trains you, gives you equipment, and pays most or all of your income, then you might be misclassified as an independent contractor when you should be classified as an employee.
When a worker is misclassified, they can file a wage complaint with the Attorney General’s Office. A misclassified worker might be able to get workers’ compensation benefits or file a lawsuit against the at-fault party to get compensation for the costs of the injury they’ve suffered.
If You Need Legal Help, You Better Phone Stone!
At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we have years of experience helping injured workers in Massachusetts get the compensation they deserve. Whether you’re pursuing a denied work comp claim or considering legal action against a third party, we can help you explore your legal options.
Contact the Boston workers’ compensation attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today to get a free consultation.