Massachusetts Lost Wages Attorneys
Workers’ compensation claims are designed to compensate an employee injured on the job for lost wages and medical expenses. Lost wages in Massachusetts can include money for time lost at work while recovering from a temporary disability or for future earnings that an employee can no longer earn due to his or her workplace injury.
Workers’ compensation claims are not unique but rather commonplace, especially when you consider that nearly 13,000 workers in the United States suffer a work injury every day. Work injuries can be caused by any number of hazards, including:
- Workplace violence
- Slips, trips and falls
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development (EOLWD) states that an employee who suffers a work-related injury or illness resulting in the employee missing at least five full or partial days of work must have his or her employer electronically complete an Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality form (also known as Form 101). The employer should file one copy with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA), one copy with the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider, and provide a final copy to the injured worker. The form must be properly filed within seven days of the fifth day of lost work due to an on-the-job injury or illness. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier is then given 14 days to determine whether it will pay the claim.
When filing Form 101, your employer will need to know:
- The name of the company’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier
- Your personal information
- The date of injury
- The location where the injury occurred
- The type of injury
- The body parts associated with the injury
As workers’ compensation attorneys at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC can explain, if your employer fails to send Form 101 to the insurance company within 30 calendar days from the date of your injury report, you should report the injury claim to the insurance company yourself or complete another form provided by the DIA.
Your employer is required by Massachusetts law to display a poster containing the name and address of the insurance carrier at your workplace so you’ll know who to contact when your employer doesn’t. If your employer is not carrying workers’ compensation insurance, they could be violating state law. Your attorney can discuss with you your options, including filing a claim with the state’s Workers’ Compensation Trust Fund to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. The Trust Fund was designed to compensate victims of workplace injuries when an employer is non-compliant.How Long Does It Take to First Receive Benefits for Lost Wages?
Under Massachusetts law, once your workers’ compensation claim is approved, you should start receiving benefits within four weeks of submitting the paperwork. You’re not entitled to compensation for the first five days of lost wages but are entitled to weekly checks for time missed after that..
While all covered workers are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, workers in high-risk jobs are more likely to suffer an on-the-job injury and seek benefits. Private industry jobs with the largest number of injuries and illnesses in 2018 included:
- Tractor-trailer and heavy truck drivers
- Janitors and other cleaners
- Nursing assistants
- Maintenance and repair workers
- Retail salespeople
- Registered nurses
- Delivery service drivers
- Construction workers
(Information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Certainly, no job is without risk. Even office workers face work-related injuries, including overexertion injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, slip-and-fall injuries and toxic exposure. Overexertion injuries comprise more than one-third of all work injuries and cost billions in workers’ compensation costs, according to the National Safety Council.What Does “Pay-Without-Prejudice” Mean?
For the first six months after your injury, workers’ compensation benefits provided fall under the “Pay-Without-Prejudice” (PWOP) period of a case. This means that your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance company are paying you workers’ compensation benefits while investigating your case. They have not yet accepted responsibility (liability) for your injuries and lost wages even if they are paying you. The insurance provider is allowed to reduce or discontinue your workers’ compensation benefits during this PWOP period by filing a form provided by the DIA. They are only required to provide seven days of notice to you that they are stopping your benefits.
If the workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim, you have a right to appeal this denial, but you must do so quickly. The DIA and EOLWD both strongly recommend that you obtain legal representation prior to filling out a claim form. Having a legal team on your side that is familiar with the process and that is fighting for your rights greatly increases your chances of receiving a full and appropriate workers’ compensation award. Insurance companies are notorious for using certain tactics to avoid paying claims or paying less than they should. While your employer’s insurer will be motivated by its own bottom line, your worker’s compensation attorney will be focused on your health and well-being.
In addition to obtaining skilled and experienced legal counsel, you can improve your chances of obtaining maximum workers’ compensation benefits by documenting everything related to your work injury. For example, you should take photos of your injuries from the first date of injury and continuing throughout the healing process. Make sure to obtain an updated disability note when leaving your appointments, from each and every doctor that examines you. Witness statements from co-workers, contractors or anyone else who saw your on-the-job accident may also help bolster your claim.
Contact the Law offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation at (617) 367-2900 or via our online form.