You may have questions about your workers’ compensation claim and how it is being handled. Below are some answers to questions which are frequently asked:
Have you been in an accident at work, but your employer is not telling you anything?
There are numerous reasons why you haven’t been told anything, but none of them are good excuses. The process works like this: when you have been injured, you have an obligation to report your injury to your immediate superior, H.R., company nurse, etc. Once you have told them, your employer has 7 calendar days (in MA; or 5 days in NH) to report the injury to their insurance company. Once the insurance company receives notice, they have 14 days to investigate your claim and decide what to do. Their choices are very basic: either begin paying your medical and lost time benefits, or deny the claim. Either way, you should never have to wait more than 21 days from the date you were injured (14 days in NH) before getting an answer.
Have you suffered an injury at work and reported it to your employer, but they have failed to present it to their workers’ compensation insurance company?
No matter what your employer tells you, it is your right to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. You can pursue a claim directly with your employer’s insurance company, but first you’ll need to find out who it is. Your employer is required to post information with their insurance company’s name. This is usually posted in the lunchroom, around the time clock, or in your company’s HR department. You are absolutely privileged to know this and your employer cannot keep it from you. You may also contact the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents at (617) 727-4900, or visit their website at http://www.mass.gov/lwd/workers-compensation/ (or in NH, call (603) 271-3176, or visit http://www.nh.gov/labor/index.htm) and ask the DIA to help you find out the name of your employer’s insurance company. Once you know who it is, you can contact the insurance company to report your claim directly to them. They will initiate a thorough investigation.
You have been receiving weekly benefits for a workers’ compensation claim, but now you have been told your employers’ insurer is stopping payments—can this happen?
It depends on the reason why they are stopping your benefits. If your own doctor says that you are able to return to work, then you are expected to return to work and your benefits can be terminated if you don’t. However, if it was the insurance company’s doctor who said you can return to work, while your own doctor disagrees, then you should file a claim for continuing benefits. Depending on when you were injured, your insurance company may not be allowed to terminate your benefits without satisfying some very strict criteria. It is recommended that you speak to a lawyer about your situation.
You have made a claim for workers’ compensation benefits and have been out of work trying to get better, but now you’ve received a letter from the insurance company stating your claim has been denied. You know you are injured and are not able to perform your duties without risk of re-injury, or even risk to other employees. What do you do now?
Call an attorney! If you have been seen by a physician who has determined that you are injured and need to be out of work in order to rehabilitate and be able to perform your work duties properly and safely, then you have evidence to support your claim that you need to be out of work collecting benefits from your employer’s WC insurance. Sometimes you need to have your claim substantiated by your own physician or have them refer you to a specialist.
Beware of insurance companies that want to send you to their own doctors for second opinions. These often result with conflicting medical opinions between your own physician and the one who was hired by the insurance company to examine you. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t risk your own health! Call an attorney today!
You have been experiencing pain and discomfort at work for a while, but it’s not getting any better—when is it time to report it?
Make a claim today! The longer you wait, the more difficult it becomes to establish a workers’ compensation claim and collect benefits. There is also a 4-year statute of limitations on filing a workers’ compensation claim in Massachusetts (in NH, the statute of limitations is just 2 years!) Workers’ compensation insurance is required by law of all employers in Massachusetts. As an employee, you are obligated to report an injury to your employer’s HR department, your supervisor, or manager who will proceed with making the claim on your behalf. If, for whatever reason, you have waited, it is recommended that you speak with an attorney immediately.
If you need further answers to questions that pertain specifically to your case, please call to schedule a free consultation. There are no fees involved with this first step, and you will pay nothing out-of-pocket for legal representation. Whether you are looking to hire an attorney or simply have questions, Attorney Levin can assess your situation right over the phone.
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