Is my employer required to have workers’ compensation insurance?

Injured Worker With a Broken Arm in MassachusettsState law requires that almost all Massachusetts employers carry workers’ compensation insurance. A Massachusetts employer is defined as an employer who does business in the Commonwealth regardless of whether the employer’s headquarters is located in Massachusetts.

For the vast majority of Massachusetts employers, the requirement to carry workers’ compensation insurance applies regardless of the number of employees or the number of hours that the employees work.

Exceptions to the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Requirement

While almost all Massachusetts employers must have workers’ compensation, there are a few exceptions to the law. Specifically:

  • Employers of domestic employees only need to carry workers’ compensation insurance if the domestic employee works at least 16 hours a week.
  • Members of a limited liability company (LLC) or limited liability partnership (LLP) do not need to have workers’ comp insurance if they are the only ones working for the LLC or LLP and they do not have any other employees.

Additionally, corporate officers may request an exemption for themselves if they own at least a 25 percent interest in the corporation. This exemption would apply only to the qualifying corporate officers and not to any employees of the corporation.

How to Verify Your Employer’s Workers’ Compensation Insurance

As an employee, you likely want to know whether your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. In Massachusetts, you can do this easily. All you need is the name of your employer’s business, the city or town where it is located, and the zip code. You can then check for workers’ comp insurance:

  • Online. You can search for your employer’s insurance coverage online. However, your employer may have insurance, and it may not show up in an online search in some cases. If it does not show up, then you should verify coverage in another way.
  • By phone. You can call the Office of Insurance, Department of Accidents at (617) 626-5480 or (617) 626-5481.
  • By mail. You can download the insurance inquiry form and mail it to the Office of Insurance, Department of Industrial Accidents, 19 Staniford Street, 5th Floor, Boston, MA 02114.
  • By fax. You can fax your insurance inquiry form to the Office of Insurance, Department of Accidents at (617) 624-0985.
  • In person at the Department of Industrial Accidents in Boston. You will need to do this if you are searching for proof of insurance from 1986 or earlier.

Penalties for Employers Who Do Not Have Workers’ Compensation

Whether or not someone is hurt on the job, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts may impose penalties on any employers who do not have the required workers’ compensation insurance. The Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) Office of Investigations may:

  • Issue a stop work order (SWO) to the employer.
  • Impose a fine of $100 a day (including weekends and holidays) beginning on the date the SWO was issued and ending on the date that workers’ compensation insurance starts and the fine is paid in full.

Employers who receive an SWO have a choice to make. They may appeal the SWO and remain open during the appeal. However, employers who choose this option will have their fine increased to $250 a day.

Further penalties may include being excluded from consideration for public contracts for three years and criminal penalties that include up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $1,500.

What to Do If You are Hurt at Work

There are specific steps that you should take if you’ve been injured at work in Massachusetts. In addition to checking to see if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you should seek immediate medical attention and you should promptly report your injury to your employer. Your time to report your injury is limited and if you fail to make the report then your claim could be denied.

Additionally, it is important to consult with a Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer. Whether or not your employer had the required insurance, an attorney can make sure that all of your rights and your workers’ compensation benefits are protected. Call us or reach out to us via this website today to schedule a free and confidential consultation and to learn more about getting your medical expenses paid and a portion of your lost income reimbursed.

 

John L. Keefe
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Founding Attorney, Massachusetts Social Security Disability Lawyer