Receiving prompt medical care after a workplace accident is very important. That’s why the state of Massachusetts authorizes insurance companies to pay out workers’ comp benefits before they’ve come to a final decision in your case. This means that they pay you money, but do not accept liability for your injuries just yet. This “pay without prejudice period” can be complex and overwhelming for injured employees and their families. That’s why it’s best to speak with a workers’ comp attorney to go over your legal options.
What Is the Pay Without Prejudice Period?
The “pay without prejudice period” refers to the first 180 days after your injury and after you’ve filed a workers’ comp claim. During this time, some workers’ comp insurers will pay you benefits before they’ve made a final decision in your case. This gives the insurer more time to evaluate and investigate your claim without accepting liability. This is an important point to remember: the benefits paid to you during the 180-day pay without prejudice period do not mean that the insurance company has accepted liability. They can still ultimately deny your claim and completely stop your compensation.
Terminating Work Comp Benefits in Massachusetts
Your employer’s insurer has the right to terminate your benefits within the 180-day period. The insurer must give you a seven-calendar-day written notice through an Insurer’s Notification of Termination or Modification of Weekly Compensation During Payment-Without-Prejudice Period – Form 106. The insurer will send this notice to you and the Department of Industrial Accidents. Usually, the insurance company will notify you of the termination of your benefits within 173 days after the benefits have begun, so that the payments will end on or before the 180 days.
Extending the 180-Day Period in Boston for Work Comp
Sometimes, the insurer will want to extend the 180-day period. Normally, this is because the insurer has not finished investigating your case and is not ready to accept liability. With your written consent and the approval of the Department of Industrial Accidents Office of Conciliation, the pay without prejudice period can be extended for up to a year. When the 180-day period is extended, the insurer cannot change or stop your benefits unless they ask the payee or judge for permission to do so. However, it’s important to consult with a Massachusetts workers’ comp lawyer before signing any documents or contracts.
Important Things to Remember about Mass Workers Comp Benefits
- Benefit checks should start within 3 to 4 weeks after your injury
- Payments during the 180-day period do not mean that the insurer has accepted liability
- Your weekly compensation may change
- The insurer can stop or reduce your benefits
- The insurer must explain the reason for stopping or reducing your payments
- The insurer has the ability to extend the 180-day period
Contact a Massachusetts Workers’ Comp Attorney
The intricacies of workers’ compensation claims can seem overwhelming and confusing. The pay without prejudice period can further complicate things and impact your benefits, so it’s important to know about the process. For help specific to your case, contact our legal team at Powers & Caccavale. We can answer all of your questions and guide you through every step of the process. Contact us by filling out our free case evaluation or by calling (617) 379-0016.