The Massachusetts work injury lawyers at Kantrovitz & Associates have been honored to serve Massachusetts workers for over almost 30 years. Located in Boston, we combine big firm professionalism with small town service, meaning you pay for individualized representation, not bells and whistles. We are dedicated to protecting your rights and helping you get back on your feet.
Deadlines and Waiting Period
Massachusetts law sets strict time limits on filing compensation claims. Although employees have a few years to notify insurers of the injury, this is not much time if an occupational illness develops slowly. As soon as workers discover an injury, they should report the accident and seek legal counsel. In order to be eligible, the employee must be out of work for 5 or more days. Workers are only paid starting on the 6th day, unless the incapacity lasts over 21 days.
Payment Without Prejudice Period
Once insurers accept the claim, they notify workers of their agreement to pay. Benefit checks should begin within 3 to 4 weeks after the injury. The payment without prejudice period refers to the first 180 days following the injury in which the worker receives benefits without the insurer accepting liability. During this period, workers should remember:
- Payment does not equal liability
- Weekly compensation may change
- Insurers may stop or reduce benefits
- Written notice required within 7 days
- Insurer must explain reason for action
- Insurer may request extension of period
When workers receive continued payment beyond the 180-day period, insurers cannot modify or terminate the benefits through written notice; they need to ask the payee or judge for permission. When insurers ask for written consent to extend the 180-day period, they are asking for up to one year to avoid making a final decision on your case.
Payment Without Prejudice Requirements
Insurers must begin payment within 14 days of receiving the first report of injury or employee claim form. The insurer has 30 days to file notice of payment without prejudice. If the insurer fails to start payment or denies the claim after 14 days, the employee is entitled to a $200 penalty fee. The penalty increases the longer insurers wait to begin payment or issue a denial. Insurers automatically accept the claim if payment begins after 14 days. They must list all the reasons for a denial or forfeit this argument later as a defense.
Terminating Benefits or Extending the 180-Day Period
Insurers have a 7-day period to notify employees of termination of benefits within the 180-day limit. Employees are usually notified within 173 days after the disability benefits began so that insurers can promptly stop payment on or before 180 days. On the other hand, workers must sign a written consent form agreeing to extend the payment-without-prejudice period. The form must then be approved by the Department of Industrial Accidents Office of Conciliation. Workers should never sign a binding contract without first consulting an attorney and knowing the full extent of their rights.
If you require legal assistance understanding the payment without prejudice period, the Massachusetts workers’ compensation attorneys at Kantrovitz & Associates are here to help. The deadline-driven race to start and stop payments often inures to the benefit of insurers if workers are not careful. As experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers, we diligently defend your rights and advise you of the best course of action. Call (800) 367-0871 for a free consultation or contact us online.