Reporting a Work Injury
Immediately reporting a work injury in Massachusetts is critical to ensuring receipt of workers’ compensation benefits. Failure to do so is a common basis upon which insurance companies will deny workers’ compensation claims.
The legal team at The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman have seen cases in which an injury occurs toward the end of the week, but isn’t reported until the following Monday, only to have the insurer assert the worker was injured over the weekend. By reporting the injury to your supervisor right away, you reduce the chances the insurer will have an opportunity to insinuate there was some other cause.
Causation is extremely important in workers’ compensation cases. While it is not necessary to prove the company or co-workers were negligent in order to obtain benefits, it is essential to prove the illness or injury – or aggravation of a pre-existing condition – arose out of and occurred in the course and scope of one’s employment.
This is why the very first thing you must do if you are injured at work – aside from going to the emergency room, if necessary – is to inform your employer.Where Do You Report Your Injury?
If your employer has a specific employment policy that identifies a certain individual to whom you are required to report a work injury, tell that person as soon as possible. In many cases, this information is located in one’s employee manual, and the specified person is either a supervisor or someone in the human resources office.
If you can’t locate a copy of this policy or if your employer doesn’t have one, do not allow this to delay reporting.
If you are working nearby another person who may have seen what happened, take down their name. Note the time. Ask them to write out a brief statement of what they saw.
If you speak to or see anyone who may be able to verify your condition right after the incident, take note of their name.
You will also need to notify your supervisor or whoever handles human resources at your company. If you work at a small firm, inform your boss.
When you speak to your boss, you may ask to fill out a work injury incident report. Date it and make a copy for yourself. We have seen cases in which insurance companies have denied claims that were made only verbally. If there is documentation to the contrary, this can be extremely helpful.Your Employer’s Obligation to Report the Injury
Any time an employee has a Boston work-related injury or illness that results in lost work time for five full or partial calendar days, an employer is obligated to file what’s known as the Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality – Form 101.
This form is filed with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents, and as of Jan. 1, 2014, all of these reports must be submitted electronically. The form has to be submitted within seven calendar days (excluding Sundays and legal holidays) from the fifth day of lost work time.
Per the directive of the Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development Department, once the form is completed, three copies should be printed out:
- One for the employee.
- One for the insurance company.
- One for company records.
Injured workers should request one of these forms as soon as possible.My Employer Refuses to Submit The Report – Now What?
Some employers may mistakenly believe that by filling out and submitting Form 101 that they are agreeing with the employee’s assertions or that they can avoid paying. This is not true.
However, because it is in your best interests to have those forms filed immediately, there are steps you can take to protect your rights.
If an employer does not send this report, the worker should contact the insurance company directly to report the injury in writing, or complete the Department of Industrial Accident’s Employee Claim Form – 110.
You may also ask your attorney to complete and submit this form for you, which is generally advisable if your employer is already disputing your assertions.
If you aren’t sure who your employer’s insurance company is, you can:
- Ask your employer.
- Look for a poster somewhere in the office or on site that displays this information.
- Contact the Department of Industrial Accident’s Office of Insurance at (617-727-4900).
In some cases, the insurance company will agree to pay your claim soon after receiving the paperwork. In this case, you’ll receive an Insurer’s Notification of Payment – Form 103.
However, if the insurance company denies your claim, you will receive an Insurer’s Notification of Denial – Form 104. This will give you a brief explanation of denial and note your right to appeal.
It is recommended at this point you speak with an experienced Boston workers’ compensation lawyer to learn more about your options. And don’t be discouraged – many legitimate claims are initially denied. We work to help you obtain the benefits you deserve.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL