Can I Still File a Workers’ Compensation Claim in Massachusetts?
A Massachusetts workers’ comp claim should be filed as soon as possible. However, there are many reasons that lead injured workers to delay doing so. This can include not knowing whether a claim can be filed or believing that the employer will fire them if they do so.
If you let months or years go by after being injured at work and are now wondering whether you can still file a workers’ comp claim in Massachusetts, there is something you should know. Massachusetts law provides workers a four-year window from the time they become aware of a work-related injury to file a workers’ comp claim. This is great news for workers in the Bay State since other states have shorter statutes of limitations for workers’ comp claims.
When to File for Workers’ Comp Claim in Massachusetts
Anyone who suffers a workplace injury deserves proper compensation. Massachusetts law requires employers to buy workers’ compensation insurance regardless of the number of employees they have. A few exceptions include limited liability companies and sole proprietors of an unincorporated business. But most employers must provide workers’ comp insurance.
It is your responsibility to inform your employer of your injury, preferably in writing since a verbal notification can be disputed later on. Your employer then bears the responsibility of notifying the Department of Industrial Accidents and filing a workers’ comp claim with their insurer on your behalf. They go about this with a Form 101 “Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality” if your work-related injury keeps you from working for five days.
Your employer has to file a Form 101 within seven days of the fifth day you are unable to work. Once the insurer receives your claim, they must decide whether to pay benefits or not within 14 days.
As you can see, getting workers’ comp benefits takes time so you should notify your employer of your injury as soon as possible. However, some workers do not do this for one reason or another.
Why would filing a workers’ comp claim be delayed?
Reasons for Delayed Filings of Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims
Notifying your employer of any work-related injury is imperative to start the ball rolling with workers’ comp benefits. But getting medical attention is even more important.
Often, workers get medical attention and leave it at that, even if they cannot work for more than five days due to the injury in question. This might be because they are unaware that they are entitled to benefits, they fail to realize how severe the issue actually is, or they fear retribution from their employer if they seek benefits.
Being Unaware of Potential Benefits
If you have let months or even years go by without workers’ comp benefits, that does not necessarily mean you cannot still file a claim. Massachusetts law provides you with up to 4 years after your injury was discovered to do so.
An experienced workers’ comp attorney can take a good look at the facts of your case and inform you about the best course of action to get you the compensation you deserve.
The Injury Gets Worse Over Time
Your injury might have appeared minor to you when it happened and that is why you did not have a workers’ comp claim filed on your behalf. Then your pain got worse over time. Now you are unable to work like you used to or even not at all. If this is the case, you can still go after the compensation the law says is yours. Some injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, often result in symptoms that become worse over time.
Retribution from Employer
Often, workers fear losing their jobs if they do anything to offend employers, such as filing for workers’ comp benefits. Because of this, they might not report an injury and just keep working as it gets worse.
You do not have to fear being fired or any other type of retribution from your employer. Massachusetts law protects you from any negative action from your employer when you file a workers’ comp claim.
Benefits You might be Entitled to
In Massachusetts, workers’ comp benefits include the following:
- Medical Benefits: This covers medical attention from the date you were injured until you recover, including prescription medications, medical equipment, ambulance costs, and other medical expenses. Future medical attention is also included if needed.
- Lost Wages: Depending on how badly you were injured and how long you are unable to work, you may recover lost wages. This will also take into account whether you are temporarily or permanently disabled totally or partially as well as any social security disability benefits.
- In Case of a Fatality: If the workplace injury results in death, the relatives are entitled to workers’ comp death benefits. This generally includes burial costs up to eight times the average Commonwealth weekly earnings. Relatives can also receive weekly benefits that amount to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s average weekly earnings.
Should I Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
The fact of the matter is that you can go after workers’ comp benefits without a lawyer. However, while filing for these benefits is usually straightforward, waiting months or even years to do so complicates the issue significantly. Things can get even worse if your employer or the insurance company refuses your claim. After all, it is not really in their best interest to hand over money since they are for-profit companies.
An experienced workers’ comp lawyer knows how to deal with any issues that might arise when filing for benefits long after it should have been done.
The Law Office of Robert E Frawley have more than five decades of experience getting injured workers just like you the compensation they legally deserve. They will go out of their way to protect your rights and go after the liable parties for your work-related injury. Reach out today and make an appointment for a free consultation where we can take a good look at the facts of your case and advise you accordingly.
Recently injured on the job? Call us at the Law Office of Robert E Frawley at (617) 523-2929 and we’ll help you get the compensation you deserve.