Time is Of the Essence: Filing Workers’ Compensation Cases in Massachusetts
Workers’ compensation benefits, like most insurance-based benefits, are not automatic. Even though you may have a right and entitlement to benefits if you are injured at your workplace, there is still action that both you and your employer must take before benefits can be paid out. Understanding the basic filing requirements can ensure that your claim is properly filed and that you will start receiving benefits as soon as possible under the law.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation insurance is a type of insurance that virtually all employers in Massachusetts are required to carry and provide as a benefit to their employees. If an employee is injured while doing something that is required as part of their duties as an employee, the employer is typically held responsible for these injuries. The employer has insurance that will pay for much of the injured employee’s medical expenses, associated costs, and wages from time missed from work. Though this type of insurance covers most work-related accidents and injuries, understanding your rights and responsibilities under Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation law as both an employee and an employer can help expedite the process and ensure accuracy in filing.
As an employer, you have certain responsibilities under Massachusetts workers’ compensation laws. If you become aware, whether from the employee himself or from your own observations, that an employee has been injured on the job you must timely file an “Employer’s First Report of Injury or Fatality Form- Form 101.” If you timely become aware of the accident or injury, you have seven days (not including Sundays or legal holidays) from the fifth day after the disability happened to file this form. Otherwise, if the employee reported this injury after being disabled for five or more days, you have seven days (not including Sundays or legal holidays) to file the report. More information about filing Form 101 can be found here.
Though many of the responsibilities for claiming workers’ compensation benefits fall on the employer, the employee has many obligations as well. First and foremost, you have an obligation to make your employer aware of your injury on the job. Submitting written notice of injury is a good way to ensure there is no later confusion about whether you timely reported the accident or injury to your employer. Time is of the essence with these reports, since an employer has a limited time to file Form 101. Timely notifying your employer will prompt the employer to submit the necessary paperwork and you can be confident you have fulfilled your reporting requirements at this point.
Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims in Massachusetts
If you or anyone you know has been injured at your workplace, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. The most common reason why workers are denied benefits is due to an inaccurate or incomplete filing. Failure to provide all of the necessary information, failure to abide by your employer’s reporting requirements, and not timely reporting your injuries can all pose significant barriers to your recovery. Hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney that understands the ins-and-outs of Massachusetts workers’ compensation law will greatly improve your chances of timely filing and quick recovery. John J. Sheehan and his team of knowledgeable attorneys will help you file your claim, assist in recovery, and ensure you understand your rights, responsibilities, and obligations. Contact us at our Boston office today.