If you suffered an on-the-job injury or illness, you may be eligible for Massachusetts workers’ compensation, a program that pays medical expenses and some wage replacement if you are unable to work for a period of time. Most work-related injuries are covered, but you must file for benefits in order to receive them. The application process can be complicated, but with the help of a skilled workers’ compensation lawyer, you can receive your full benefits in a timely manner. The information below provides instructions and a general timeline for filing a workers’ comp claim.
If your injury requires medical care, seek medical attention immediately. The next step is to notify your employer of the injury or illness. To be eligible for benefits, you must notify your employer within a limited period of time, so don’t delay. At this point, your employer will provide you with the necessary paperwork to proceed with filing a claim. If your employer refuses to provide you with this paperwork, for any reason, contact a Boston workers’ comp attorney right away.
What if My Employer Doesn’t Have WC Coverage?
Once you have returned the paperwork to your employer, it is your employer’s responsibility to report the injury to the insurance company, and to provide you with a copy of the report. The insurance carrier has 14 days from receipt of the initial report to determine if it will accept your claim. If your employer does not have workers’ comp coverage, you may be able to apply for benefits through the Massachusetts State Special Trust Fund. Alternatively, you may be able to sue your employer in a civil action if they are not insured. Both scenarios are highly dependent on the unique circumstances of your case.
If your application for workers’ comp benefits is accepted, you will receive payment for the first 180 days following your injury. This is known as the Pay-Without-Prejudice period, which occurs while the insurance carrier is making the final decision on your claim. If the insurer does not accept liability of your claim, your payments will likely stop after the 180-day period has expired.
Workers’ Comp Payment Schemes
If your application is approved, you will begin receiving payment based on the extent of your injury and several other factors. Various payment schemes exist, including:
- Temporary Total Incapacity
- Partial Incapacity
- Permanent and Total Incapacity
- Permanent Loss of Function and Disfigurement
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Following your injury or illness you have four years to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits. Similarly, if your application for benefits is denied, you have four years to appeal. If your application is approved, you will be contacted by an adjuster for the insurance company who will instruct you on how to submit medical bills for reimbursement. Remember, it is not in the employer’s best interest that your application is accepted; it can result in a significant increase in their workers’ comp rates. Don’t assume your employer is on your side. The best way to ensure your claim is approved is to collect and document as much information as possible. Detailed medical records are immensely helpful.
Altman & Altman, LLP – Workers’ Comp Attorneys Serving All of Massachusetts
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of MA workers for more than 50 years. If negligence played a role in your injuries, you may be entitled to additional benefits for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. If you’ve been injured, we can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.