In our increasingly mobile society, it is not uncommon for employees to need to travel out-of-state on work-related business. For example, a driver for a Massachusetts-based trucking company may travel to Connecticut or New York in order to deliver goods. Or a construction company headquartered in Boston may routinely bid on jobs in neighboring states and then send workers to complete those jobs. But, just as work-related business can take place across state lines, so can work-related injuries. What happens when an employee of a Massachusetts-based company is injured outside of Massachusetts? Where should the workers’ compensation claim be filed? In other words, which state has jurisdiction over the claim?
Where to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
In simple terms, jurisdiction refers to the court or other governing body that is able to hear the type of case being brought before it and has the power to issue an order that would be binding on all the parties involved in a case. In most cases, in order for a particular state to have jurisdiction over a workers’ compensation claim, there must be some connection between the employer or employee and that particular state.
Most workers know that a Massachusetts-based employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance and that, if a worker is injured while on the job in Massachusetts, a workers’ compensation claim can be filed. In this case Massachusetts would have jurisdiction over the claim. But the same result occurs if that worker is injured on the job outside the state as well. That is, if an employee of a Massachusetts-based company is injured on the job while outside the state, the worker may still file a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts. In fact, an employee of a Massachusetts-based employer who is injured while working temporarily in another state can choose to file his or her workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts or in the other state. Most state laws are similar and will allow an injured worker to file a workers’ compensation claim in the state of hire, the state in which the injury occurred, or the state in which the worker’s employment was centered.
A Workers’ Compensation Attorney Can Help
While this may seem like a very simple concept, an injured employee who files a workers’ compensation claim in a state without jurisdiction will not be entitled to any recovery in that state. While nothing would prevent the employee from refiling the claim in a state that does have jurisdiction, the delay caused by the improper filing can mean the injured employee must wait even longer to begin receiving benefits. That is why it is always a good idea for injured workers to consult with a workers’ compensation attorney. Such an attorney can review the particular facts of the employee’s case and, if the injury occurred outside of Massachusetts, the attorney can discuss with the employee where his or her claim can be filed. An attorney can help injured workers also avoid other common pitfalls and mistakes that can result in a delay or denial of benefits. If you are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, contact us today at (508) 755-7535.