A Lowell, Massachusetts business owner was recently indicted on charges in connection with a workers’ compensation fraud scheme. A recent blog post discussed the various types of workers’ compensation fraud as well as how the various types of fraudulent schemes impact workers and other employers. Kruy Kroch, owner of MK Environmental, Inc., is accused of underreporting his total payroll and the number of jobs in which his business was engaged. As a result, Kroch was able to avoid paying a higher premium on his workers’ compensation policy.
Workers’ Compensation is Mandatory in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation insurance exists to compensate workers who become ill or injured on the job for expenses such as medical bills and lost wages. All Massachusetts employers are responsible for obtaining workers’ compensation insurance. Employers who do not have workers’ compensation insurance can face significant civil and criminal penalties, including fines, imprisonment, and having a STOP WORK order issued to their business. In addition, Massachusetts General Law chapter 152, section 25C(10) penalizes employers who misclassify their employees in an attempt to avoid paying higher premiums (as Kroch is accused of doing) by prohibiting them from bidding or participating in any state or municipal funded contracts for a period of three years.
Don’t Be Fooled – Injured Workers in Massachusetts May Receive Benefits
Since obtaining workers’ compensation insurance and paying the premiums are tasks typically undertaken by employers, injured workers may be at a loss when they need to file a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. Employers are required to post a Notice To Employees someplace in the workplace that identifies the workers’ compensation insurance provider. In addition, when a worker has been unable to work for five (5) or more days, the employer must file a report with their workers’ compensation insurance company and the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, and a copy of this report (which has the workers’ compensation insurance company’s information on it) is to be given to the injured worker.
What if an employer has been operating without workers’ compensation insurance? In Massachusetts, the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund exists to compensate injured workers whose employers do not have workers’ compensation insurance. These workers can bring a civil suit against their employer and file a claim against the trust fund in order to receive compensation for their medical bills and lost wages.
Contact a Massachusetts Workers Compensation Attorney
Workers’ compensation is an area of the law that changes frequently, and it may be confusing or difficult for injured workers to navigate the process on their own. According to some sources, as many as fifty percent (50%) of all workers’ compensation claims are denied by the insurer. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney can assist injured workers by ensuring their forms are filled out correctly and submitted in a timely manner, that all supporting documentation is in order, and can help injured workers contest a denial of benefits to the next higher authority. If you were injured on the job in Massachusetts, workers’ compensation benefits may be available to you. Contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation.
Photo Credit: Chris Hunkeler via Compfight cc