When Is The Right Time To Get A Workers’ Compensation Attorney?
People who have sustained a work-related injury, which puts them out of work indefinitely, have immediate concerns. The first, and probably most important question is, will I be able to sustain myself, financially, while I’m out of work. This is precisely why Workers’ Compensation benefits exist; to provide financial, and medical, security while the injured employee remains out of work.
However, the period immediately following a work injury is an extremely confusing period. In addition to dealing with the actual injury and resultant medical care, workers’ compensation insurance companies almost instinctively swarm the injured employee with paperwork, forms, etc. This is because these insurance companies go to work immediately to try and defend themselves against a potential claim. That is why it is imperative that any injured employee contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible.
This does not mean, however, that an attorney will necessarily need to get involved right away. Often times, filing an appearance too soon on a workers’ comp claim can cause more problems than it solves.
For example, under the MA Workers’ Comp law, M.G.L. Chapter 152, Section 8(1), there is what is known as the “pay without prejudice period.” This is an initial period of time of up to 6 months, which can be extended to a full year from the date of injury. During this period, an Insurer can commence disability payments to an injured Employee, without effecting its rights to defend against this claim. The purpose of this pay without prejudice period is to help facilitate quicker payments to the employee, rather than after a lengthy investigation between the Insurer and Employer involved.
Should an Insurer commence the payment of benefits during this period, it is often the best practice for the Employee’s attorney to not file their appearance right away.
However, during this time period, it is crucial that the injured Employee and his/her attorney remain in close contact. The Employee’s attorney must be informed of any potential developments early and often, so that he/she can advise the Employee appropriately.
So, the short answer to the question of when an injured Employee should retain an Attorney is: as soon as possible. The Insurance companies don’t wait. Neither should the injured party.
At Troupe Law Office, we have over 40 years of experience in these fields. Please visit our web site at https://www.troupelawoffice.com for more information. Or, call us at (978) 531-7401. We offer free consultations for all cases.