How Quickly Can you Receive Your Workers’ Comp. Money in Massachusetts?
After an injury at work, you may be left out of a job – or at least on leave – with medical bills piling up. Workers’ compensation is designed to cover those medical expenses and help with lost wages, but it might not act as fast as you need it.
In general, your first check must come within 14 days. Workers’ compensation also waits 5 days before starting payments. Those payments are later made retroactively if you remain unable to work for 21 days. Moreover, no paychecks will be paid if your case is denied, further delaying your claim and payment while you appeal.
Massachusetts workers’ comp. lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan can help with your application and fight to get you the workers’ compensation pay you need. For a free case review, call us at (617) 925-6407.
The Timeline for a Successful Workers Compensation Claim in Massachusetts
When you apply for workers’ compensation through your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance, payments should be made quite soon after approval. The insurance company will usually let you know when the payments will start.
It is generally intended that these payments should start without a substantial gap in your pay. After all, if you’re going to be out of work, there’s no sense in building a system that will leave you with gaps in payments that could potentially mean no income for rent or utilities. However, built-in waiting periods could adjust this timeline.
The first 5 days of your inability to work are considered part of a mandatory waiting period for workers’ compensation. If your inability to work is shorter than 5 days, you might not receive payments. Once you hit the 6th day, payments should be approved.
Keep in mind that some injuries allow people to work some days and require rest on other days. Because of this, not every workers’ comp. case involves consecutive days out of work. Because of this, your first 5 days out of work could very well be interspersed with other workdays, delaying when your payments start. Your Boston workers’ compensation lawyer can explain further details about this waiting period.
Under Section 7 of the Workers’ Compensation Act, payments should start on the 14th day after receiving your claim. If claims are denied, the denial must be sent on the 14th day instead. This is counted from the day of the injury report or initial claim – whichever is first. There are some other dates that might also affect when this starts, so speak with a lawyer for further details.
If they miss this date, worker’s compensation should be required to pay you a penalty of $200, so speak with a lawyer about any delayed payments.
Before you can get the payments for your first 5 days of workers’ comp., you will need to have been out of work for 21 days. However, once you hit that 21st day out of work, the payments for your first 5 days should come retroactively. These payments should likely make it into your next check.
Payment Without Prejudice Period
The first 180 days of benefits are considered part of a “payment without prejudice” period. Essentially, the insurance company agrees to start paying your claim, but they’re not admitting to any fault and can change their mind and fight your benefits claim if they see fit. This period can be scary, and you should always work with an attorney to prevent any awkward reversals, delays, or terminations.
This period can also be extended, so make sure to speak with an attorney as the 180-day mark approaches. Your employer’s insurance company has to follow special rules and procedures to terminate benefits this way or extend the period.
Timeline of Denied and Appealed Workers’ Comp. Payments
If your employer and their insurance company reject your claim, it can take longer to get you the payments you deserve. Our Cambridge workers’ compensation attorneys can help you fight denials and work to get you the benefits you deserve, but the timeline for this process is much harder to predict.
Filing with the DIA
The Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) oversees appeals and claims for workers’ compensation. to appeal a denial from the insurance company, you and your Wakefield workers’ compensation lawyers can file forms with them and initiate the next steps.
Filling out these forms with the help of an experienced attorney can help prevent additional denials and help secure payments at the next stage. If you fill out these forms yourself, it’s possible they could be denied, sent back for additional information, and otherwise misfiled, further delaying payments.
A conference called a “conciliation” will be scheduled after your claim is filed. at this meeting, you, your lawyer, the insurance company, and their lawyers will sit down with a “conciliator” from the DIA to address your claim.
At this point, the insurance company can voluntarily agree to start paying you. Payments should then begin quickly. Alternatively, an agreement can sometimes be made to pay all the damages in a lump sum. Talk to an attorney for more details.
In some cases, you can apply to have a conciliation expedited and moved to the top of the list. Your attorney will have to explain what hardship you face to get the case accelerated.
If this stage of the appeal fails, you can take the case before a hearing, a review board, and even a full court hearing to try to get the claim accepted. Each stage will have scheduling delays and such that drag out the case. Talk to an attorney about what to do about payments in the meantime.
Contact Our Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today
When you have been hurt at work and you are not able to work, it’s important to consult with a Somerville workers’ compensation lawyer immediately. Worker compensation claims can be difficult to navigate but with an experienced attorney on your side, the process can move more quickly. Call the Law Office of John J. Sheehan for a free case review today at (617) 925-6407.