The Workers' Compensation Trust Fund
The Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Act was enacted to provide benefits, including disability payments, medical care, and rehabilitation, to injured employees. In order to be guaranteed a portion of their pay through the workers' compensation system without having to prove fault, workers give up the right to sue employers, supervisors, or coworkers in civil court for damages. All private employers in Massachusetts are required to buy workers' compensation insurance or qualify as self-insurers. The policies need to cover employees but do not need to cover independent contractors or seasonal, casual, or part-time domestic workers. If your employer did not procure the required insurance, you may be able to make a claim against the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund, which was created based on the requirements of MGL c. 152, § 65. Employees in this position can seek guidance from the Boston workers’ compensation attorneys at Pulgini & Norton.Understanding the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund
If you learn that your employer does not have workers' compensation insurance, you may need to file a claim against the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund. First, however, you should check the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) insurance registry to make sure that the employer did not have insurance on the actual injury date. Failing to have insurance coverage is a criminal violation in Massachusetts and carries penalties. In some cases, an uninformed representative of an employer will claim there is no coverage, even if the employer is self-insured or there is actually a policy that includes workers' compensation coverage.
The Workers' Compensation Trust Fund (the Fund) is a special revenue fund in the state treasury, which is overseen by the Office of Legal Counsel. Section 65 provides that the Fund can pay compensation and reimbursement when parties bring claims under specific sections of the Workers' Compensation Act. Employees of uninsured employers who were injured on or after December 12, 1985 are able to sue their employer in a civil lawsuit and also file a claim against the Fund at the Department of Industrial Accidents.
The Fund reimburses cost of living adjustments made to weekly compensation, reimburses adjustments made to weekly compensation related to latent injuries, reimburses certain apportioned benefits related to second injuries, pays vocational rehabilitation benefits as appropriate, and pays benefits resulting from approved claims against employers that are uninsured based on Section 65. The Fund cannot pay if the claimant is entitled to benefits in another jurisdiction and under certain other circumstances specified by statute. No reimbursements can be made to a non-insuring public employer, self-insurer, or self-insurance group that has chosen not to participate in the Fund.
The Fund also pays for the reasonable and necessary costs of its own administration and representation for costs such as taking depositions, retaining private investigators, filing fees, retaining outside counsel, and providing services for the management of the Fund.Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Case with a Boston Attorney
For most injured employees in Massachusetts, workers' compensation benefits are crucial. All private employers have a responsibility to procure insurance coverage for their employees, but if they fail to do so, the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund may provide some relief. The Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Pulgini & Norton advise and represent injured individuals in Weymouth, Medford, Waltham, and other cities in Massachusetts. Call us at 781-843-2200 or contact us via our online form for a free consultation with a workplace accident attorney.