For a valid workers’ comp claim, you must file for benefits before a certain deadline. The time that you have may vary depending on the type of injury you have and where it occurred.
Each state has slightly different deadlines to file a claim. The Workers’ Compensation Agency in Massachusetts may dismiss your claim if you do not follow the prescribed time limits. The clock starts ticking the moment after you have been injured in most situations—so call a workers’ comp attorney immediately.
Notice to the Employer of the Work Injury
In Massachusetts, you are encouraged to report your injury to your employer right away. It is the employer’s responsibility to report the accident to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier if you have been unable to work for at least five days.
You should never assume that your employer knows that you have been injured. Making sure that your employer knows that you were injured can help you workers’ comp claim down the road.
The General Rule on Workers’ Comp Claim Time Limits in Massachusetts
You have four years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ comp claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents. This deadline is completely separate from the notice to the employer explained above.
If you received a denial letter, then you have four years from the date that you received the denial letter to file your claim. Payment of any benefits will also halt the clock for a short period of time.
Although four years may seem like a long time, it really is not. It takes a significant amount of time to gather information about your claim. You should also be sure that you are getting the required medical attention that you need for your injuries. Generally, you should be well along in the healing process before you file a claim as well. For some injuries, especially those that require surgery, healing can take a great deal of time and effort.
Exceptions to the General Time Limit Rules
There are a few exceptions to the general four-year rule to file a workers’ comp claim in Massachusetts. These are similar to other states’ exceptions as well, but they are applied narrowly in most situations.
- Contagious illnesses that require the employee to be quarantined
- Injuries that require prolonged treatment or surgery
- Injuries that result in coma, making the employee unable to file a claim
The other major exception applies to occupational diseases and cumulative trauma situations. Because cumulative trauma or exposure is by nature ongoing, the limitations clock does not start running until your last date of exposure in many situations. For some employees, this can be the last date that they were employed. For others, that can mean retirement. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be able to explain the specifics of a cumulative or ongoing exposure claim, but seeking help right away is important.
If you have previously filed for workers’ compensation on a similar or related injury, then your time limits for that type of workers’ comp claim will vary as well. There may also be deadlines that you must meet to submit bills to the insurance carrier.
Your workers’ comp attorney can help you track and meet all of these important deadlines. Missing just one of these deadlines can put your workers’ comp claim in jeopardy. Don’t wait—the clock is ticking. Call Jim Glaser Law at 1-888-241-7952 for more information or to schedule an appointment.