Filing Workers' Compensation Claims for Multiple Injuries
You don’t need to file multiple claims if you suffer several injuries from a single accident, such as breaking your arm and hitting your head after slipping on a wet floor. You would file one injury claim for the incident, listing all the different injuries and their symptoms separately.
Why You Might File Multiple Injury Claims
- An injury at a new employer. Workers can suffer injuries multiple times over the course of their careers. You are entitled to file a claim if you’re hurt at work, even if you received benefits from a different employer for a separate incident or if the disability is related to a pre-existing condition.
- A new injury at the same employer. If you’re hurt at work and have previously collected benefits, you may need to file a new claim with the same insurer for a second on-the-job accident. Your new claim might arise as a direct result of your original injury, or it may be due to an independent incident. However, your case might be more complicated if you file a claim and haven’t fully healed from a previous injury.
- An occupational illness. Some conditions take years to become symptomatic, and an employee may have changed jobs several times before being diagnosed. You may have filed a claim related to a sudden accident in the past, but it’s more difficult to pinpoint which employer—and which insurer—is liable for the costs of a long-term medical condition.
Workers’ Compensation Claims Involving Multiple Employers
Another reason workers might consider filing two injury claims is if they work two or more jobs. In these cases, workers can file a single claim and collect wage benefits from both employers. As long as you’re classified as an employee, you’re entitled to benefits through each employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
Massachusetts law requires that earnings from all concurrent employers be considered in determining average weekly wage (AWW), whether or not you worked at both on the day of your injury. That said, the amount of your AWW could change depending on whether:
- You can’t work at either job. If you have more than one employer, you should file your claim with the workers’ compensation insurer where the accident occurred. Part of this claim includes providing information about your second employer and the wages you earn there. If workers’ compensation covers you at your second job, the insurance provider at your primary job should include your AWW from both workplaces.
- You can work one job but not the other. It’s possible to suffer an injury that prevents you from doing some work tasks but doesn’t stop you from working altogether. For example, if you’re a writer during the day but break your ankle while moonlighting as a bartender, you might be able to continue writing while your ankle heals. In this case, the workers’ compensation insurer would adjust your benefits based on the income you can earn.
- You are classified as a contractor at one or more jobs. Wage benefits are only available to employees, not independent contractors. If one of your jobs involves working as a consultant, contract worker, or the federal government, state workers’ compensation insurance for your second job may not apply.
Get the Answers You Need After a Work Injury
Workers cannot be penalized for filing multiple compensation claims if each injury is job-related and would otherwise qualify for benefits. However, filing numerous claims may raise red flags with insurance companies looking for any reason to deny benefits.
If you have been injured at work and have filed a workers’ compensation claim in the past, you should speak to an experienced attorney who can advocate for you. Call the workers’ compensation attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP at 508-879-3500, or contact us online to have us explain your options at no cost to you.