Most residents of Salem are aware of the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system, but very few understand how the system operates. This post will provide an overview of the essential features of the Massachusetts’ workers’ compensation system.

The basic principle is simple: all workers who suffer an injury or illness that is related to their job are entitled to financial benefits paid by their employer. The families of workers who died from a work-related illness or injury are entitled to survivor’s benefits. A worker must be totally or partially disabled for at least five calendar days in order to file a claim for benefits. A worker must file the claim within four years of the date of injury or realization that the illness or injury was work-related.

The amount and frequency of benefits are determined by the legislature, and the system is managed by Department of Industrial Accidents. The DIA resolves disputes arising under the workers’ compensation system, including whether the injury or illness is work-related, whether the injury is permanent and the extent of the injury. If a worker disagrees with a determination of the DIA, he or she may file an appeal in court and ask the judge to take another look at the dispute. Massachusetts law provides various appeal options for workers who believe that their cases were wrongly decided by the DIA.

Anyone who has suffered a workplace injury or illness may wish to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about the workers’ compensation system for advice on filing an application, assembling employment and medical records to support the claim and whether to take an appeal if the application is denied.