When to Hire a Workers Comp Lawyer?
R. The answer is as soon as possible.
The first step following a work-related injury is to see your doctor and get the appropriate treatment you need.
During this first initial visit, be very clear that the injury happed at work and be as descriptive as possible. Many times, injured employees don't want to be a burden on their employer, and don't want to say that the injury happened at work. Unfortunately, this can create many problems down the road. In fact, one of the first things the workers comp insurers do following an injury is obtain copies of the initial medical reports. If the work injury is not noted in the medical reports, often times, this can lead to a denial of the claim.
After seeing your doctor, you should contact an experienced Massachusetts workers comp lawyer as soon as possible.
This is because the very early stages of the claims process can often dictate how the claim will play out. The workers' compensation insurance companies will go to work right away to defend against claims. Having someone on your side will help ensure that you're not taken advantage of during these crucial early stages.
Ensure that your Employer is on notice of the injury!
One of the most pressing things on an injured employee's mind is when will they start getting paid. Unfortunately, there is no firm answer to this question, and while there are time frames set forth in the Comp Statute, at M.G.L. Chapter 152, Section 7, these time frames are more loose guidelines than actual deadlines.
One of the first things an experienced Massachusetts workers comp lawyer will advise is to make sure that employer is on notice of the injury. This generally means making a phone call to a boss, supervisor, or, preferably, a person within the Employer's office who handles the workers compensation matters for the Employer. Either way, you want to do your best to make sure the Employer is on notice.
Putting the Employer on notice essentially starts the clock. The Employer then has 7 days to notify their workers compensation insurer of the injury. Then, the comp insurer has 14 days to either notify you that payments will begin, or notify you that they are denying the claim.
While in theory this process should take 21 days, having this process go over a month is not uncommon.
To sum up, the early stages of a workers' compensation case are crucial. Reach out and speak to an experienced workers' comp lawyer as soon as possible.
Often times, the role of the attorney at this early stage of the game is simply advising the client what to do in order to ensure that payments start promptly.