Can You File for Workers’ Comp. in Massachusetts without a Lawyer?
Many legal and financial issues can be tackled without the help of an attorney, but that may put your case at risk. When you need money for a workplace injury, it may seem easier to file your Workers’ Compensation claim without a lawyer and just accept whatever money they give you. However, you could be missing out on substantial payments and benefits – or have your case denied altogether.
While a lawyer is not absolutely necessary for a Workers’ Compensation claim in Massachusetts, Workers’ Compensation claims with the help of an attorney are significantly simpler for the applicant. Without a lawyer, you will be expected to handle all filings and deadlines on your own – and if Workers’ Compensation is not available or appropriate in your case, you would have to handle any lawsuits or court cases without help.
If you need assistance with your Workers’ Compensation claim, call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan’s Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation attorneys today at (617) 925-6407 for a free case review.
How a Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Can Help
If you were injured at work and are considering filing a Workers’ Compensation claim, you can do so without a lawyer – but having a lawyer will be a huge help. Workers’ Compensation attorneys in Massachusetts can help file claims for their clients, preventing any legal or factual errors from going through to the final applications and forms. In many cases, Workers’ Compensation claims are denied because there is not enough information in the forms and submissions to prove that…
- The injury was work-related and
- The injury is serious enough to keep you from working for at least 6 days.
Without these elements, your employer and their Workers’ Compensation insurance might deny your claim and leave you without the payments you need. With the help of a lawyer, we can fight to get the claim approved the first time. Moreover, if there are any issues, we can appeal your claim and fight to get you the Workers’ Compensation benefits you need.
The first 5 days of benefits are not paid unless you are out of work for at least 21 days, and benefits typically begin on the 6th day out of work. This is why 6 days is an important threshold: you typically won’t get ongoing benefits at all if you are out for only 5 days.
Steps for Applying for Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts (with and without a Lawyer)
When applying for Workers’ Compensation in Massachusetts, there are a few major steps you need to take. Without a lawyer, some of these steps will be difficult – especially if you suffered very severe injuries. Our Boston Workers’ Compensation lawyers explain how an attorney can help with these steps, as applicable.
Get Medical Treatment
When you are initially injured, you should get medical treatment. Most often, this means going to a hospital or an urgent care facility to seek treatment. As long as the injury happened at work, your employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance should cover your injuries.
While this is likely too early in your case for you to have called a lawyer, your attorney can review what happened later and help ensure that any bills are taken care of. Without an attorney on your side, you might not know that you can often avoid having these costs billed to your own medical insurance or charged as self-pay.
Notify Your Employer
Your employer will need to be notified about your accident and injuries, and then they usually initiate the process of getting Workers’ Compensation benefits issued. However, your employer’s internal forms and insurance forms might be confusing, and you might not know how to give proper notice on your own.
Your attorney can help you give notice and make sure that your employer has all the details necessary to know…
- That the injury was indeed work-related
- How serious your injury is
- That you will be out of work because of the injury
- Where you are seeking treatment
- What treatment has already been recommended
And any other details they need to accept your claim.
Appeal Denied Claims
If your employer and their insurance company refuse to accept your claim on the first try, there will be steps to take to appeal the claim. The first thing you do is take your claim to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA). The DIA has forms to fill out, and a list of information you need to be able to present, which can be found on the government’s website.
Your first true step in the appeals process for a Workers’ Compensation claim will be “conciliation.” This is a meeting between all relevant parties, and your attorney can represent you at this stage. This meeting will be the first time to sit down with the insurance companies and try to work out a negotiated settlement or approval of ongoing benefits. If this step fails, there are additional steps you can take to appeal your claim, including a hearing before a DIA panel, an administrative law hearing, and even an appeal in court (if your case gets to that stage).
Most of these steps involve heavy legal jargon and processes. In addition, the information you need to provide about your condition and treatment might be technical, and you might not have a clear understanding of the implications of the statements and information you provide. Unexpected effects on your case are possible, so it is always best to have an attorney review all documents and step in during negotiations and hearings to avoid adverse outcomes.
Can You Get Help with Workers’ Comp. Forms Without a Lawyer?
In general, the only true way to get help with Workers’ Compensation forms and filings is through a lawyer. Government agencies like the DIA and the courts and panels that handle Workers’ Compensation claims are often willing to be patient with unrepresented filers. However, they ultimately are not your attorney and cannot give you legal advice, help with forms, etc.
Really, the only way to get help with your forms is to work with an attorney. In many cases, even union reps and HR departments are not able to spend the time to fill out your forms and work with you during all stages of your case. Additionally, if you are so injured that you cannot work, you may be unable to fill out your forms and handle your claim at all without assistance – and a Cambridge Workers’ Compensation lawyer is the best choice to provide that help.
Massachusetts Workers’ Comp. Lawyer Offering Free Case Reviews
If you were injured at work and need help with your Workers’ Compensation claims, call the Malden Workers’ Compensation attorneys at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today for a free case review. Our number is (617) 925-6407.