Many people at work must frequently walk on wet or slippery surfaces. If you fell while working you may have a workers’ compensation case to pursue. If this happened to you, be sure to read our free book The Truth About Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Accidents.
For many workers such as those who work in construction, they are constantly exposed to the risk of slips and falls. If you had a work injury in Massachusetts and miss 5 days from work, your employer must complete a form 101. This form must be filed within 7 days of your 5th missed day from work. The form is then sent to your employer’s workers compensation insurance company. The insurance company has 14 days following its receipt of the form 101 to start paying you, or to deny your claim.
If the insurance company agrees to start paying you, they will file a form 103. If they deny your case, they will file a form 104. If the insurance company denies your case, then a claim for benefits needs to be filed. That is done with the filing of a form 110.
All Massachusetts workers’ compensation disputes are handled at the Department of Industrial Accidents. This is an administrative law court with administrative law judges. It handles only workers’ compensation disputes.
Here are the steps of the court process:
- The first step is the conciliation which is when you (if you do not have an attorney) or your attorney appears in front of a conciliator. The attorney from the workers’ compensation insurance company will be present.
- If the case does not settle at conciliation then the matter will be sent forward for conference. The conference will be held before a judge between 2-4 months after the conciliation.
- At the conference you, your attorney, and the attorney from the insurance company will be present. The parties will submit 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 an 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.
- Next is the hearing which will be held several months after the conference. This 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 workers’ comp dispute process is the Reviewing Board which will take many months after the hearing.
Besides workers’ 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 workers’ comp claim, and 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 would have a third-party claim against that party.
If you’ve experienced a Slip and Fall, be sure to call our office for a free consultation: 617-338-7400.