If you thought you missed your chance to file a Massachusetts workers’ comp claim, you may be in luck: the Commonwealth has one of the longest workers’ compensation time limits in the nation. Unlike Michigan, where claims must be filed within two years of the injury, or Arizona, which has a one-year statute of limitations, Massachusetts allows you to file within four years of the date you learned your injury was job related. In the case of a fatal work injury, eligible dependents can file workers’ compensation death benefit claims within four years of the employee’s date of death.
What Causes Delayed Filings of Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims?
In order to qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts, you must be disabled for five full or partial calendar days (not necessarily consecutive). At that point, your employer should notify the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) of your injury. If you are disabled for less than five days, your employer can file a “medical only” claim with their insurance company.
Ideally, you should report all work-related injuries or illnesses immediately. If you qualify for workers’ compensation, you can usually start receiving benefits right away. So why would someone file for workers’ comp weeks, months, or even years after an injury first occurred (or symptoms first appeared)? A few scenarios illustrate when this might happen:
- You slipped and fell at work, but thought your injuries were minor and didn’t bother reporting the incident. Over time, your symptoms worsened until you could no longer do your job.
- Your doctor informs you that your current respiratory disease is due to job-related exposures to toxic substances years earlier.
- You developed gradually increasing symptoms of an occupational injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome or other repetitive motion disorder resulting from repeated movements over long periods of time.
Do I Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
You do not need an attorney in order to file for workers’ compensation benefits. However, filing a claim months or years after your injury occurred can complicate your case. If you don’t report your illness or injury right away, your employer’s insurance company may question whether it was work related. In these cases, you may find it beneficial to talk to an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer before you file. You may also wish to consult a local attorney if you have already filed a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim and it was denied.
For over five decades, the Boston workers’ compensation lawyers at Altman & Altman LLP have been successfully representing people injured at work. We can guide you through the Massachusetts workers’ compensation process and help you seek the full benefit amount you deserve. Our experienced work injury attorneys can also evaluate whether a third party may be responsible for your accident, which could qualify you for financial awards in addition to your workers’ comp benefits. So contact us today for your free consultation with a skilled Massachusetts workers’ compensation lawyer.