Massachusetts Says No to Workers Comp Rate Hike

After Battle, Massachusetts State Agencies Have Agreed to No Workers Comp Rate Increase

rate hikeMassachusetts state agencies and the state’s Workers Compensation Rating and Inspection Bureau have agreed not to raise workers comp rates after all.

The state’s Attorney General, Martha Coakley, announced the settlement agreement on Friday, March 21st. She says the agreement will save Massachusetts businesses $75 million in workers comp rates.

Originally, a 7.7% rate increase was proposed by the workers comp insurance industry, particularly large insurers like AIG, Liberty Insurance, and Traveler’s Insurance Co., to cover the state’s workers. The companies justified the large rate increase by claiming a projected 2.7% annual increase in workers comp indemnity, and a 3.6% increase in workers comp medical costs. However, Coakley’s office consistently opposed the workers comp rate hike, saying it was unjustified because it did not improve workers comp coverage for Massachusetts employees, but instead would go to profit the companies.

After hearing Coakley’s arguments, the Commissioner of Insurance proposed a settlement on March 21st, that eliminated the proposed workers comp rate increases.

“As the commonwealth continues to address high unemployment, this is not the time to unfairly increase these costs for the private sector, especially for the small business community,” Coakley said. “We believe the proposed rate hike was completely unjustified and are pleased to see that rates will now be applied more fairly.”

Businesses and employers in Massachusetts are required to purchase workers comp coverage in the event of an accident or injury. Workers comp rates are set at least every other year at an administrative hearing before the state’s insurance commissioner.

Coakley’s office has worked for fair workers comp insurance rates for the state since 2007. The state’s workers comp rates have not increased since 2001, according to the insurance office.

Workers Comp in South Carolina

Any full-time employee (working for an employer with four or more employees) who has an employment related injury and needs medical attention should be covered under workers’ compensation insurance. It doesn’t matter if the injury was a complete accident or the fault of a co-worker.

South Carolina does not award workers compensation to workers who are intoxicated on the job. This accusation could be used as “employer retaliation,” however, and the claim is difficult to prove. Just because your employer, or your employer’s insurance company, denies your workers’ compensation claim does not mean that they are right to deny your workers’ comp benefits.

If the employer is using a legal reason to deny workers’ comp, you need to determine if the reason is valid, or if it is a false accusation against you (such as a work injury due to intoxication). Your employer also may not want to accept your work injury, especially if your injury is difficult to prove and requires you to seek legal assistance. Some job-related injuries employers may initially deny are from repetitive injuries, stress, mental conditions, and environmental conditions such as claims of toxic exposure.

The Strom Law Firm Can Help with Workers Comp Claims in South Carolina

The workers comp lawyers at The Strom Law Firm, LLC proudly seek justice on behalf of employees injured or killed on the job who work for private companies, as well as employees working for local county, city, and state government. We are licensed to practice throughout South Carolina, as well as Georgia and New York. If you are confused about worker’s comp laws, or have had your worker’s comp claim denied, contact us. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case.803.252.4800.