Debunking Myths About the Workers’ Compensation 90-Day Rule:
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Originally Posted On: https://www.noonanlawma.com/debunking-myths-about-the-workers-compensation-90-day-rule/
Workers’ comp can be a complex process and invoking it can often mean doing so during a very emotional time. Adding to this, misinformation is rife when it comes to the workers’ compensation 90-day rule. You are not alone if you find yourself confused, so would you like a primer on some of the facts?
Read on to discover some of the most common myths when it comes to this rule, and shine a light on the truth of what it does. Before you finish reading, you should have a good understanding of how it can help you, as well as how to start using it to your advantage.
The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation 90-Day Rule
When it comes to compensation for a workplace injury, there are rules related to how fast you need to raise the fact the incident occurred. Under the 90-day rule, you need to report it to your employer within 90 days of its occurrence, though this is not without nuance.
Several exceptions exist that may mean you have longer before you can bring up such an issue and still expect compensation. To get a full list of the situations in which you can extend the claim, you may want to discuss the issue with a legal expert
Now you understand the rules, though, we can start to look at some of the larger myths you may have heard. The following will explain what the truth of each one is, as well as why you may have heard the myth in the first place.
You Must See a Company-Appointed Doctor
Many workers find themselves directed by a company to visit a specific doctor on-call after being injured at work. While this professional may be reputable, it is often hard to trust a professional recommended by a potentially liable party.
Others in the company may corroborate this, as they may have seen the same doctor too. Precedent and hearsay can often perpetuate this myth, preventing people from seeing a healthcare professional of their choice.
The employer should provide you with a list of at least six workers’ compensation physicians to choose from to treat the injury. This list also needs to appear in a location where you and your colleagues can see it, such as a break room or common notice board. If they do not provide such a list, you can choose your own instead.
By understanding this, you can start to make much more informed medical decisions regarding your care. So, make sure you assert this right when possible.
If your insurer asks you to attend a doctor’s appointment, though, you should attend to ensure you receive appropriate compensation.
You Lose All Claims to Compensation After 90 Days
The name “90-day rule” often causes people to believe that the period is an inflexible deadline. This is not the case, though fear of losing out may cause employees to make assumptions, leading to misunderstandings.
At the same time, having a potential compensation issue hanging over a company can give some businesses pause. As such, employers sometimes suggest that the 90 days is set in stone, to try to encourage people to resolve the issue fast.
While the 90-day rule is called that due to the period involved, there are several circumstances in which it can be extended. These include:
- If a member was retroactively enrolled
- When injuries appear gradually over time
- Litigation has delayed the process
- Delays caused by a third party
- Administrative delays occurred
- Natural disaster
In some cases, you can even claim within 4 years of becoming aware of the link between the injury and your employer. However, this relates more to litigation rather than the initial claim.
Reporting Before 90 Days Guarantees Compensation
Some people think that reporting accidents early means they will always receive approval for compensation. This is not true, and those who believe it may set themselves up for disappointment moving forward.
This misunderstanding seems to come from misinterpreting the exact wording of the 90-day rule and its intent. The purpose is to enact workers’ comp in a timely manner, rather than to set a guarantee.
There is no guarantee of compensation for a workplace injury, though timely reporting is crucial to ensure your claim is valid. Compensation experts will examine every injury claim on its own merits over and above the time taken to report it.
The 90 Days Starts on the Day of the Injury
Much like many other misunderstandings, people seem to believe this due to the simplicity of the name “90-day rule”. Some employees may also insist this to be the case, to try to rush claims through or discourage people from applying.
The 90-day period starts from the time when you both recognize an injury exists and can link it to an employer. In many cases of occupational injury or occupational disease, this may not always be apparent early.
Make sure to make contemporaneous notes on aches, and illnesses you receive, whether you first experience them in the workplace or not. In the case of direct injuries, the cause will often be much more clear, though in some cases you may not feel an injury until much later.
You Don’t Need Legal Representation
Employers often discourage people from seeking out legal aid as it can put them at a disadvantage when processing claims. There may be concerns employees have regarding the costs associated with legal representation and whether they need it.
Workers’ compensation can often be a complex procedure. A legal professional can both help you understand your legal position as well as protect your rights throughout the process.
Expert Representation For Your Claim
Misunderstandings surrounding the Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation 90-Day rule can often lead to confusion. You need someone who can help guide you through some of the issues this might cause.
Here at the Law Offices of Gerald J. Noonan, we can provide professional consultation to help you get the compensation you deserve. So, contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you and start your journey toward justice.