What is the 90 Day Rule in Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Compensation insurance offers crucial benefits to employees who are hurt on the job. Claimants can recover payment for medical expenses and lost wages related to their work-related injuries. However, in order for employees’ claims to succeed, there are several conditions that must be adhered to.
One of these conditions involves compliance with the 90-day rule. Under the 90-day rule, potential claimants must report their on-the-job injury to their employer within 90 days of the date it occurred. Failure to adhere to this rule can cause an injured employee to miss out on crucial benefits. Thankfully, the team at our firm is prepared to help workers build their claims and file on time.
Seek support from our experienced Workers’ Compensation lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan by dialing (617) 925-6407 for a free review of your claim.
Understanding the 90 Day Rule for Workers’ Compensation Claims
The 90-day rule in Workers’ Compensation refers to a crucial time frame that can impact an employee’s eligibility for claiming benefits after their work-related injury. This rule signifies the period within which an injured worker must report their injury to their employer. Failure to adhere to this timeline might result in the forfeiture of benefits, making it essential for employees to understand and adhere to this requirement.
The 90-day rule establishes a reporting obligation for employees who sustain injuries on the job. According to this rule, an injured worker must notify their employer of the incident or condition within 90 days from the date it occurred or from the date they became aware of the connection between their ailment and their work. Timely reporting is crucial because it allows employers and their insurers to promptly initiate the procedures for investigating the incident, providing medical care, and potentially granting compensation.
Importance of Timely Reporting
If an injured worker fails to report the incident within the mandated 90-day time frame, then they may lose their right to claim compensation for medical expenses and lost income. By adhering to the 90-day rule, employees ensure that their claims are valid and maintain their eligibility for potential financial assistance.
Exceptions and Considerations
While the 90-day rule is a fundamental requirement, there can be exceptions and special circumstances that may affect the reporting timeline. Some states might allow for extensions to the reporting period if the injured worker can demonstrate reasonable cause for the delay.
Additionally, injuries or illnesses that develop over time because of repetitive tasks or exposure to harmful conditions might have a different start date for the 90-day reporting period. For example, in a case involving an illness caused by harmful chemical exposure, the 90-day time limit to report may not begin to count down until the connection between the illness and the job became apparent.
Legal Guidance and Protection
Navigating the complexities of Workers’ Compensation laws and regulations, including the 90-day rule, can be challenging for both employees and employers. To ensure that their rights are protected and that they receive the benefits they deserve, injured workers are encouraged to seek guidance from our experienced Boston Workers’ Compensation lawyers. Our team can help injured employees understand their rights and pursue the compensation they are owed.
Does Massachusetts Have a 90-Day Rule in Workers’ Compensation?
Yes, Massachusetts does have a 90-day rule in Workers’ Compensation. As previously mentioned, this rule establishes that injured workers are obligated to report their on-the-job injuries and illnesses to their employers within 90 days from the dates their injuries occurred or from the dates they became aware that their ailments were work-related.
While the 90-day rule is a fundamental guideline, there are certain exceptions and special circumstances that may affect the application of this rule:
Reasonable Cause Exception
In specific cases, the 90-day reporting period for Workers’ Compensation claims in Massachusetts can be extended if the injured worker can provide a valid reason for the delay in reporting. Instances of medical incapacitation, unforeseen circumstances, or other compelling factors may warrant an extension beyond the initial 90 days. This exception acknowledges that there might be situations where the injured worker is genuinely unable to meet the standard reporting deadline.
Repetitive Trauma or Occupational Disease Exception
When injuries develop gradually as the result repetitive tasks or occupational exposure over time, the start of the 90-day reporting period might be altered. Rather than commencing from the initial onset of symptoms, the clock may start ticking at the time the worker becomes aware of the connection between their condition and their job duties. This exception recognizes the unique challenges posed by injuries that accumulate over a prolonged period, ensuring that affected individuals have a reasonable opportunity to report the issue.
Cumulative Injuries Exception
The 90-day reporting rule may be flexible in cases involving cumulative injuries. Given the gradual nature of these injuries, there is recognition that individuals might not immediately realize the extent of their condition or its work-related nature. As a result, the reporting clock might start ticking later, reflecting the evolving nature of symptoms and the perception of the injury as less severe.
For example, a construction worker exposed to repetitive tasks and heavy lifting over months may initially dismiss back pain as fatigue. As time progresses and their condition worsens, they receive medical care that reveals a cumulative injury. In that case, the 90-day reporting rule might not begin to countdown until the date the claimant recognized that they had a work-related, cumulative injury.
Unawareness of Work-Relatedness
In situations where an injured worker is initially unaware that their ailment is connected to their job, the reporting period may be extended based on the date they become cognizant of this relationship. This exception accounts for instances where the injured worker’s realization of the work-relatedness of their condition occurs after the standard 90-day period has passed.
Call Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyers Today for Help with Your Case
Get assistance from our experienced Malden Workers’ Compensation attorneys by calling the Law Office of John J. Sheehan today at (617) 925-6407.