Navigating the complex process of filing a workers compensation claim in Massachusetts

workers-compensation-attorneyIf you have been injured in a work related accident in Massachusetts and need to file a claim for benefits, you will need to navigate your claim through the Department of Industrial Accidents, the State Agency that oversees all work related injuries in Massachusetts.  In order to file a claim, an injured worker needs to file an Employee’s Claim for Benefits, which is also called a Form 110.   The form will need to be completed in full and needs to set out the claims you are making.  An injured worker may file a claim for disability, either temporary total, temporary partial or permanent and total.  You can also use the Employee’s Claim for Benefits (form 110) to seek coverage of medical treatments and/or scarring and loss of function benefits.  The form needs to be filed with the Department of Industrial Accidents and a copy of the claim should also be sent to the WC insurance carrier of the employer.

Once a claim is properly filed, the Department of Industrial Accidents will schedule a “Conciliation”.  The Conciliation will be scheduled at either the Main Department of Industrial Accidents office in Boston or one of the regional offices in Lawrence, Worcester, Fall River or Springfield.  The location of the Conciliation should be determined by the closest office to the employee’s residence.  The Conciliation is held by a Conciliator who attempts to resolve the dispute.  A representative for the Workers Compensation Insurance Carrier should also attend.  If the dispute cannot be resolved at the conciliation and there is enough evidence to continue the claim, then the Conciliator sends the case forward to be heard by an Administrative Judge at a Conference.

An Administrative Judge will be assigned to your claim  and the Judge will oversee the proceeding at the Conference.  Although the strict rules of Evidence do not apply at the conference level, the Conference is an extremely important proceeding.  The Administrative Judge will then issue what’s called a Temporary Order.  Most Orders at the Conference level will be appealed and then the injured worker may be evaluated by an Impartial Examiner, which is a doctor assigned by the Department of Industrial Accidents.  If the Case or dispute does not resolve after the Conference Proceeding, the next step would be to have a Hearing in front of the Administrative Judge where normally the rules of evidence apply and formal testimony is taken.

If you or a loved one have been injured in a work related accident and need to file a claim for benefits, you may encounter serious setbacks if you are unfamiliar with the Massachusetts Workers Compensation System.  I recommend you contact an experienced plaintiff workers compensation law firm such as The Law Offices of Michael O. Smith to explain the process and assist you with your claim.  Attorney Smith has over 15 years of experience representing injured workers and has successfully recovered millions of dollars for his clients.