There are numerous categories of employees who work across state lines. Whether it is someone in the transportation industry or a healthcare worker, understanding how your travel can impact your right to workers’ compensation benefits is important. The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide injured workers with compensation for missed wages and medical expenses that result from a work-related injury. Each state has its own workers’ compensation system. If your injury happens in another state, then your home state may claim that the state where the accident occurred is responsible for providing you with benefits or vice versa. The last thing anyone wants to deal with after being hurt at work is a dispute about which jurisdiction applies. At Mass Injury Group, our Boston workers’ compensation lawyers are available to help you navigate your work injury claim and to receive the benefits that you deserve in a timely manner.
The Massachusetts Court of Appeal recently issued an opinion in a case that involved an employee who traveled for work. The employee operated a tractor-trailer on behalf of his employer who was located in Pennsylvania. The process that he had to complete to become hired and a job offer was not extended until he completed an orientation program, which he attended in Roaring Springs, Pennsylvania. He was offered a job in Pennsylvania and he accepted at the conclusion of the orientation.
The following year, the employee was using the same truck to mainly perform deliveries and other work responsibilities in Massachusetts. In October 2012, he was working in the course and scope of his employment in Maine and experienced a back injury. He filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts. The judge dismissed the claim on the basis that it had no jurisdiction over a work injury that happened in Maine. The employee appealed this decision and won. The court concluded that enough facts existed to justify the Massachusetts workers’ compensation system extending jurisdiction over the claim.
This time, the insurer filed an appeal challenging the decision that Massachusetts was an appropriate jurisdiction. It claimed that the court did not use the appropriate test when deciding which jurisdiction was appropriate. The reviewing court agreed with the insurer that the lower court reached the wrong conclusion. The employment contract was created outside of Massachusetts, for example, and that nothing had happened in the interim to change the relationship of the employment. Because there was no change in the relationship between the employer and employee after the employment contract was made in Pennsylvania, the Massachusetts court could not exert jurisdiction over the workers’ compensation claim.
If you were injured on the job, you may be entitled to benefits through the workers’ compensation system in Massachusetts. The seasoned work injury lawyers at Mass Injury Group have experience handling a broad range of claims. While you are busy healing from your injuries and coping with the disruption in your life, we will ensure that your rights are protected and that you are treated fairly. We offer a free consultation to discuss your situation and how we may be able to assist you. Call us today at 617-263-0060 or contact us online to get started.