One of the first steps in your workers’ comp case is finding out if you are eligible for benefits. Almost every employee in Massachusetts is covered by workers’ compensation as long as you were injured at work, your employer has insurance, and you are considered an “employee.” But how do you know if you are considered an employee? Which workers are NOT covered? Discussing your case with a qualified workers’ comp attorney can help answer these questions and more.
How Does Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Law Define an “Employee”?
Under Massachusetts workers’ compensation law, an employee is considered “every person in the service of another under any contract of hire, express or implied, oral or written.” This includes family members, people employed in small businesses, people working for charities and non-profits, undocumented workers, and more.
Which Workers Are NOT Covered by Workers’ Comp?
There are a variety of different workers who are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. Some of these workers are entitled to other types of benefits, but are not able to collect workers’ comp:
- Seaman working in interstate or foreign commerce
- Real estate agents
- Salespeople who work on commission (with a written contract stating they are not considered an employee under federal tax law)
- Taxicab drivers
- Railroad workers
- Door-to-door salespeople
- Part-time domestic workers who work less than 16 hours a week
- Professional athletes
- Other independent contractors
Am I Considered an Independent Contractor?
A common reason that employers and their insurance companies deny workers’ comp claims is because you are an independent contractor, not an employee. It’s important to know how you are classified, since many times Massachusetts employees are improperly considered an independent contractor. This is a sneaky way that many employers can get out of paying your workers’ comp insurance.
In 2004, the Independent Contractor Law was passed in Massachusetts. This served to clarify which workers are considered employees and which are considered independent contractors. The law states that workers are independent contractors if:
- The worker is free from the employer’s control and direction in performing his work duties, under contract and in practice
- The work or service performed by the worker is outside the employer’s normal course of business
- The worker is engaged in an independent trade, occupation, or business that is the same as the service provided to the employer
If you are concerned about your status as a worker, it may be beneficial to speak with a lawyer to clear up any confusion. Even if you’re labeled an independent contractor, you may still be considered an employee under Massachusetts law if you meet certain criteria.
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Attorney
Finding out if you’re eligible for workers’ comp can be confusing. A number of workers are excluded and knowing whether or not you fall into one of those categories may not be as easy as it seems. If you need help with any aspect of your workers’ comp claim, our lawyers at Powers & Caccavale are here for you. To find out your options, fill out our free case evaluation or call (617) 379-0016.