Filing a Claim at the DIA
One of the common misconceptions is that if you want to fight the insurance company and get your Workers Compensation benefits, you go to Court. That’s not entirely true. Instead, the Massachusetts Workers Compensation statute requires that you file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents, commonly known as the DIA. When you go to the DIA, there will be courtrooms, and there will be someone wearing a robe that you refer to as Judge, but it’s not a court. It is an administrative agency where disputes about Workers Compensation are resolved.Will I Get Benefits Right Away?
If you’re injured, missing just one paycheck can have major consequences. It means rent or a mortgage might not be paid, a car might be repossessed, or food might not be on the table. When the Workers Compensation was set up 100 years ago, the lawmakers knew that injured workers often did not have a cushion or savings in case of an injury. Therefore, the Workers Compensation system was set up to have workers paid right away. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work as intended.Process of Getting Benefits
There are two ways you can receive workers compensation. The easiest is if the insurance company agrees to pay you voluntarily. This happens in many of the obvious cases, and workers usually get their benefits in a couple weeks.
But, if the insurance company has any question about your injury or how it happened, it can deny your claim. If that’s the case, you need to file a claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents. Filing these claims involves many different steps:
- Medical Records: The first step is to obtain the injured person’s medical records. That’s because successfully filing a claim includes having a medical record confirm that you were hurt at work and you are unable to go back to work because of your injury.
- Conciliation: The second step is something called a conciliation. This is where an employee of the DIA, who usually is not a lawyer, has a meeting with the employee’s attorney and the insurance company’s attorney to make sure everything is ready to go in front of the juge.
- Conference: The third step is something called a conference. This is when both sides submit medical records and other documents to a judge and explain why the worker should or should not get benefits. It is a very informal event where the injured worker usually does not speak. This is the first time in the process where a judge can order the insurance company to pay benefits
- Hearing: The fourth step is a hearing. If one of the parties appeal the decision of the judge, both sides will go in front of a judge again. This will normally include the injured worker testifying under oath.
- Appeal: The final step is the Appeals Council. This is when one party makes a final appeal, arguing that the judge made a mistake.
As you can imagine, this multi-step process, with each step taking time:
- It can take 30 days for a doctor to get your medical records to your lawyer;
- It can take 2-3 weeks for a conciliation to get scheduled.
- It can also take 2-3 months for a conference to get scheduled.
- It can finally take 4-6 months for a hearing to get scheduled.
So, a process that is supposed to protect injured workers by getting lost wage checks quickly can take 6-9 months. All that time, you might not be getting paid.Experienced Attorneys
At Marcotte Law Firm, we’ve been representing injured workers for decades. We know how to get you your benefits as quickly as possible. We know when to file claims, and we know when to wait.
If you’ve been injured, it’s important that you see a lawyer right away. If you wait until the insurance company stops paying you, it will just add to the amount of time it will take to get your benefits back.
If you’ve been injured and need to file a workers compensation claim, call the workers compensation attorneys at Marcotte Law Firm for a free consultation.