Every person who is hired in Massachusetts is covered by the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Act, regardless of where he or she lives or is injured. In today’s mobile society, employees often are assigned to out-of-state locations or travel out of state in furtherance of their employers’ work. If one is injured during such a trip, or while working at a foreign site, employers and insurers often attempt to misinform the injured worker that she or he must file in the state where the injury occurred. Pursuit of a claim under these circumstances may be very difficult, as it would involve traveling to attend proceedings in other states.
If an employee is hired in Massachusetts, then Massachusetts retains jurisdiction, regardless of where injury takes place. The consummation of a contract of hire occurs in a number of different ways. If an employer telephones to extend an offer of employment to a prospective employee, a Massachusetts contract of hire exists when the employee accepts the offer by telephone, e-mail, fax or any other form of communication, provided that the employee is physically within the borders of Massachusetts. Such a contract of hire confers jurisdiction on the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents if an employee is later injured (again, regardless of where the injury takes place), and allows the injured worker to file a claim in Massachusetts, where it is far more convenient, as well as less costly in terms of travel.
Employees who are hired in Massachusetts but injured while working in another state – especially if that state is on the other side of the country – should not assume that the only workers ‘ compensation law that applies is the law of that state. Likewise, such employees should not be influenced by a statement from an insurance company or their employer that they can only file a claim where the injury occurred. An employee can, and oftentimes should, file his workers’ compensation claims here in Massachusetts, where he is likely to receive his medical care, and where he need not to travel hundreds of miles to obtain weekly workers’ compensation and other related workers’ compensation benefits.
If you were hired in Massachusetts, but injured while working outside of the Commonwealth (including in a foreign country), you should contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer at Parker Scheer to discuss your options. Taking advantage of a free consultation could be the difference between receiving the benefits to which you are entitled, or bearing the undue burden of the financial consequences of a work-related injury – a responsibility belonging to your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company.