Although some working relationships are clear cut, there are instances where it is not clear whether someone is in a formal employee position. This comes up most frequently when someone begins providing in-home care for an ailing individual. Many of these employment positions can have very informal employment relationships. At Mass Injury Group, we proudly provide legal counsel to individuals who are dealing with workers’ compensation claims in Massachusetts.
Recently, the Massachusetts Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case where an in-home care provider who claimed that she fell down a set of stairs on the backside of a house when she was providing in-home care for an elderly woman. The fall was so severe that she was unable to return to work and had to move-in with a relative, according to her claim. The woman began working as an in-home care provider when the elderly woman’s daughter asked her whether she would be interested in the job and explained what it would involve. The worker testified that the job required roughly 30 to 40 hours of care each week and taking care of daily maintenance tasks around the home.
The worker sought benefits from the Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund. According to her claim, her employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance when she was injured while working. The claimant and the WCTF reached a settlement agreement but her employer was not part of the agreement. This created many procedural issues with the case and the parties were confused as to how to resolve the dispute. A judge has the power under Massachusetts law to join an uninsured employer in a claim. The judge exercised that authority in this matter.