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What happens if your employer doesn't offer workers' comp?

When you get hurt at work, you probably know that it should get covered by workers' compensation. After all, that's the point of workers' compensation insurance. It's meant to ensure that those who work hard won't live in poverty, unable to afford medical care, if they get injured or sickened while on the job. Massachusetts law requires your employer to obtain a workers' compensation insurance policy. Some companies, however, avoid doing so to reduce operating expenses. After all, workers' compensation requires payment of a monthly premium, and the riskier the job, the more it costs.

For those in high-risk industries like construction or manufacturing, failing to carry workers' compensation insurance could cost a lot more than the policy would. The state could fine your employer as much as $250 per day when there was no insurance. Uninsured employers are also banned from bidding on government projects for three years after a violation gets discovered. That won't do much to help you, however, if you got seriously hurt at work and discover that you can't file a claim for workers' compensation through your employer.

A civil lawsuit may be necessary to recoup your losses

Work injuries can change your life. In addition to immediate medical expenses, including trauma care and even surgery, you will also experience lost wages and ongoing medical expenses. Whether you need physical therapy or pain relief medication, the costs associated with your injury could be staggering. In severe cases, such as badly broken bones, spinal injuries or brain injuries, you may never be able to return to work.

The good news is that Massachusetts has a special fund, called the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund, intended to help those whose employers didn't carry workers' compensation insurance. You can file a claim with the trust for the coverage of medical expenses, lost wages and other traditional workers' compensation benefits. You can also hold your employer liable by filing a civil lawsuit.

Working with an attorney can make the process simpler

Filing a lawsuit and arguing in court about your injuries is a complex and demanding process. Working with an experienced Massachusetts workers' compensation and personal injury attorney can improve your chances of a positive outcome. Even if you choose not to sue, the process of filing a claim with the Workers' Compensation Trust Fund can be complicated and confusing. Your lawyer can help you with that process as well, including obtaining necessary medical documentation and submitting all necessary paperwork in a timely manner.

You will have enough to worry about after a work injury without worrying about paperwork, deadlines and court rules. The sooner you retain an attorney after a work injury, the better the chances of a positive outcome to your case.

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