Massachusetts law about workers' compensation

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases and web sources on workers' compensation law by the Trial Court Law Libraries.

If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bets

Workers' compensation,
The hub for Massachusetts information on worker's compensation, including content for workers, employers, attorneys and more.

File a workers' compensation claim, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents.
Find out how to file a claim if your employer’s workers’ compensation insurer denies your claim, your employer refuses to file a claim, or it’s been 30 or more calendar days since your injury.

Massachusetts laws

MGL c.152 Workers' compensation

Massachusetts regulations

452 CMR Dept. of Industrial Accidents

211 CMR 45 Service fee to agents and brokers assisting with workers' compensation

211 CMR 110 Rate filings and the conduct of hearings for workers' compensation

211 CMR 115 Requirements related to worker's compensation insurance deductibles

Selected case law

Bermudez v. Dielectrics, Inc., 94 Mass. App. Ct. 491 (2018)
The Trial Court wrongfully dismissed the employee’s retaliatory termination complaint under MGL c. 152, § 75B(2) because she exercised a right afforded by the Workers’ Compensation Act when she filed against the employer.

Cahill's Case, 295 Mass. 538 (1936)
Worker's compensation for an employee who was required to do some work at home.

Camargo's Case, 479 Mass. 492 (2018)
Independent contractors. The definition of "employee" is different in the worker's compensation statute, MGL c.152, § 1, than in the independent contractor statute, MGL c.149, § 148B. When determining eligibility for worker's compensation, the definition in  MGL c.152, § 1, and not the definition in MGL c.149, § 148B, is used.

Caswell’s Case, 305 Mass. 500 (1940)
Court found that an employee was entitled to total disability compensation after the room of his place of employment collapsed on him during a hurricane. He was present in the room during the course of his employment and was hurt by contact with something directly connected with his employment, even though the cause (a storm) was not related to his employment.

DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., 473 Mass. 624 (2016)
The workers' compensation insurance company can get a lien against money you get from someone else for your workplace injuries, but they can't get a lien against money you got for pain and suffering.

Goodwin's Case, 82 Mass. App. Ct. 642 (2012)
A "major cause" need not be more than 50%, and in fact there may be more than one major cause.

Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania v. Great Northern Insurance Co., 473 Mass. 745 (2016)
If an employer is covered by 2 workers' compensation policies, but only provides notice of a claim to one of them, that company can still go after the second insurance company for contribution. Massachusetts does not recognize the "selective tender" exception to the doctrine of equitable contribution.

Madden’s Case, 222 Mass. 487 (1916)
To be eligible for worker’s compensation benefits, injury must come out of course of employment even if there was a previous condition. Fault by the employer is not a factor.

PERAC v. Contributory Retirement Board, 478 Mass. 832 (2018)
"Sick or vacation payments, when used to supplement workers' compensation, ... are not “regular compensation” ... for purposes of calculating the effective date of an employee's accidental disability retirement."

Sikorski's Case, 455 Mass. 477 (2009)
"A teacher who was injured in a skiing accident while serving as a chaperone for a school ski club trip [was entitled to workers' compensation] where the employee's injury arose out of and in the course of her employment.

Wentworth v. Becker, 459 Mass. 768 (2011)
A worker injured by a subcontractor without workers' compensation insurance can collect workers' compensation from the general contractor, and that payment by the general contractor does not bar the employee from also suing the general contractor.

Wright's Case, 486 Mass. 98 (2020)
A workers’ compensation insurer cannot be compelled to pay for an employee's medical marijuana.


Department of Industrial Accidents forms
The lists are broken down into numbered and alphabetical lists. Not all forms have a number, so if you can't find the form you're looking for, check out the alphabetical list.


Department of Industrial Accidents
Agency which oversees the Workers' Compensation system in Massachusetts.

Web sources

Can a workers' comp insurance company hire a private investigator to follow me?,
Learn what private investigators may and may not do when conducting surveillance of injured employees who’ve filed workers’ comp claims.

Do I have to go to the insurer's doctor?, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents.
Yes. Even in you are being treated by your own doctor, you still need to attend the medical exam set up by the workers' compensation insurance company.

Employer's guide to the Massachusetts workers' compensation system, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents, October 2019.
Includes: Who must be covered?; The change in the law concerning coverage of corporate officers; What injuries must be reported?; The reporting/claim process - from injury to adjudication; Why employers receive violation notices and how to appeal them; Reducing your Insurance rate /Managing your injuries. Available in several different languages.

Frequently asked questions by injured workers: payment related questions, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents.
Learn about when you get your check,  what to do if your check is late, and other information about payment.

Injured worker's guide to the Massachusetts workers' compensation system, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents, October 2019.
Covers Where to Start, What if Your Claim is Denied, How Your Benefits Are Determined, When Your Benefits May be Stopped or Reduced, Lump Sum Settlements, Do You Need an Attorney, and Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Available in several different languages.

Out-of-state workers' compensation coverage, Mass. Dept. of Industrial Accidents.
If you are an out-of-state employer operating in Massachusetts, you are required to cover all your employees working in the Commonwealth with workers' compensation insurance under Massachusetts law.  See also Mark Mendes’ case, 486 Mass. 139 for guidance on significant state contact.

Workers' compensation and the home office telecommuter, SFM, May 2019.
Workers who get injured while working from home may be able to collect workers' compensation.

Workers' compensation for employers
If you are an employer in Massachusetts, you need to have workers’ compensation insurance for your employees. Learn how and when to report an injury to your insurance carrier and the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). You can also find out how to appeal a first violation notice and pay fines. And you can learn what happens if you don’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

Print sources

Larson's workers' compensation, Matthew Bender.

Massachusetts workers' compensation: LexisNexis practice guide, LexisNexis Group, annual.

Massachusetts workers' compensation reports: Decisions of the Reviewing Board of the Department of Industrial Accidents.

Massachusetts workers’ compensation sourcebook and citator, MCLE, annual.

Right to workers' compensation for injury suffered at worker's home where home is claimed as "work situs," 4 A.L.R.6th 57.

Workers' compensation, 3rd ed. (Mass. Practice v.29-29B) Thomson West with annual supplement.

Workers' compensation practice in Massachusetts, MCLE, 4th ed., 2022.

Your rights in the workplace by Sachi Barreiro, Nolo, 2018.


Last updated: December 29, 2022

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