Many people at work must frequently walk on wet or slippery surfaces as part of their job duties. If you fell while working, you may have a Worker’s Compensation case to pursue. If this happened to you, be sure to read our free Consumer Guide called The Truth About Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation Accidents.
For many workers, such as those who work in construction, they are constantly exposed to daily risks of slip and fall accidents. If you had a work injury in Massachusetts and missed five days from work, your employer must complete a Form 101. This 101 Form must be filed with seven days of your fifth missed day from work.
This form is then sent to your employer’s Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company for filing. That insurance company then has 14 days following its receipt of the Form 101 to start paying you or to deny your claim outright. If the insurance company agrees to start paying you, they will file a Form 103. If they deny your claim, they will therefore file a Form 104. If the insurance company denies your case, then a Claim for Benefits needs to be filed on your behalf at the Department of Industrial Accidents. That is accomplished by the filing of a Form 110.
All Massachusetts Worker’s Compensation disputes are handled at the Department of Industrial Accidents. This is an administrative law court with administrative law judges presiding. This court handles only Worker’s Compensation disputes, and that is it.
Here are the steps of the court process. The first step is the conciliation, which is when you or your Worker’s Compensation attorney appears in front of a conciliator. The attorney for the Worker’s Compensation Insurance Company will also be present. If the case does not settle a conciliation, then the matter will be sent forward for conference. The conference will be held before a judge between roughly two to four months after the conciliation period. At the conference, you, your attorney, and the attorney for the insurance company will be present.
The parties will submit their evidence to the judge. The majority of evidence is typically medical records of the injured employee. The judge will hear from both sides and will issue a conference order. If either party wishes to, they may appeal the conference order, but this must be done within 14 days of the date of the order. When an appeal is filed for medical reasons, then an impartial medical exam is scheduled.
The next step in the process is the hearing, which will be held several months after the conference. The hearing is similar to an actual trial. The report made by the impartial medical doctor will be the only medical record the judge will review unless the judge agrees to consider additional medical evidence.
The final and highest stage of the Worker’s Compensation dispute process is the Reviewing Board, which will take many months after the hearing.
Besides Worker’s Compensation, if a third-party not affiliated with your employer caused you to slip and fall, then you would have a Third-Party Claim against that party. For example, if you slip and fall at work in the parking lot due to snow and ice, there is both a Worker’s Compensation Claim as well as a Third-Party Claim.
If a third-party such as a snow removal company negligently failed to clear the snow and ice in the parking lot, or if you slipped and fell while walking into or out of work and a third-party cleaning company left the floor unreasonably slippery, then you have a Third-Party Claim against that party.
If you or anyone you know needs the assistance of a Worker’s Compensation attorney in Massachusetts, please call today the Law Office of Christopher Earley at 617-338-7400 for a completely complimentary phone consultation.