Massachusetts law about workers' compensation

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

Table of Contents

Best bets

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

How to file a claim, 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.

Workers' compensation for injured workers, Dept. of Industrial Accidents
If you were injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you qualify, you can receive payments to partially replace your paycheck and for medical care related to your injury. You may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation if you need help getting back to work. If the workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim, you can file an appeal with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), which oversees the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts.

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

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

DiCarlo v. Suffolk Construction Co., 473 Mass. 624 (2016)
A workers' compensation lien does not attach to damages paid by a third party for an employee's pain and suffering.

Findlay's Case, 77 Mass. App. Ct. 108 (2010)
Even though the law was changed to allow sole proprietors to be covered, it did not mean that a self-employed individual was automatically covered as an employee without making an affirmative decision to be treated as such.

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)
"Under Massachusetts law, where two workers' compensation insurance policies issued by different companies provide coverage for the same loss, an employer, by electing to provide notice of the claim only to one insurer, does not foreclose that insurer from obtaining equitable contribution from the other insurer." Massachusetts does not recognize the "selective tender" exception to the doctrine of equitable contribution.

PERAC v. Contributory Retirement Board, 478 Mass. 832 (2018)
"Sick or vacation payments, when used to supplement workers' compensation payments pursuant to G. L. c. 152, § 69, are not “regular compensation” as defined in G. L. c. 32, § 1, 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, in that, even though her participation as a chaperone was voluntary, the activities involved constituted work connected to her employment; and where the injury did not fall within the statutory exclusion for injuries resulting from voluntary participation in a recreational activity, in that the employee's responsibilities as a chaperone, though voluntarily undertaken, were an extension of her employment duties as a teacher."

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 v. Pioneer Valley, Dept. of Industrial Accidents Board No. 04387-15 (2019)
"A workers’ compensation insurer cannot be compelled to pay for an employee's medical marijuana."

Forms

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.

Agency

Department of Industrial Accidents

Agency which oversees the Workers' Compensation system in Massachusetts.

Web sources

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.
 

  • Employer's guide to the Massachusetts workers' compensation system, Dept. of Industrial Accidents, 2014, 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.

Workers' compensation for injured workers
If you were injured at work, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. If you qualify, you can receive payments to partially replace your paycheck and for medical care related to your injury. You may also be eligible for vocational rehabilitation if you need help getting back to work. If the workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim, you can file an appeal with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), which oversees the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts.

  • Injured worker's guide to the Massachusetts workers' compensation system, Dept. of Industrial Accidents, 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.

Your rights in the workplace , Nolo, 2018. 
Chapter 12: Workers' compensation "provides information about workers' compensation such as the right to medical care and continuing treatment as well as filing a worker's compensation claim. It also discusses related lawsuits for work injuries."  Requires library card for access.

Print sources

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

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

Workers' compensation, Mass. Practice v.29-29B, Thomson West, with supplement

Workers' compensation practice in Massachusetts, MCLE, loose-leaf

Contact

Phone

Within Massachusetts only

Within Massachusetts only

Online

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Reference librarians via email masslawlib@gmail.com

Address

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Last updated: July 26, 2019
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