If you or a loved one have been injured on the job in Massachusetts, you may have come across the phrase “Pay Without Prejudice Period.” It is vital to understand what this period is and how it can impact your claim.
The Pay Without Prejudice Period refers to the first 180-days (6 months) from the commencement of disability following a work-related accident in Massachusetts. Generally, the beginning date of this period is the date of the accident. If a workers’ compensation insurer has decided to voluntarily pay benefits to an injured worker, during this first 180-day period, they make the disability benefit payments without affecting their right to contest any issue that may be present or arise in the workers’ compensation claim. (e.g., causal relationship, the extent of disability, etc.) In other words, the insurer pays disability benefits without accepting liability.
Why is this so important? Because the insurer has not accepted liability, they have the right to terminate or modify the payment of disability benefits an injured worker receives during this 180-day Pay Without Prejudice Period. The only requirement on the insurer to stop or modify payments during this period is to send the injured employee a 7 days’ notice of the termination or modification of benefits. Once benefits are terminated or modified, the injured employee can file a claim for disability benefits with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.
In the event the workers’ compensation insurer continues to make payments to the injured employee beyond the 180-day Pay Without Prejudice Period, then, aside from specific circumstances (e.g., signing a Form 105 -extending the Pay Without Prejudice Period for an additional 6 months), they automatically accept liability and then cannot unilaterally decide to stop or modify benefits. In this situation, the workers’ compensation insurer must seek and obtain court approval before they stop or modify benefits. This is why it is very important to keep an eye on the Pay Without Benefit Period deadline. Knowing whether liability is accepted is very crucial to a Massachusetts workers’ compensation claim. It also provides peace of mind to an injured worker in knowing that the insurer cannot just stop or modify the benefits once liability is accepted.
Speak with an Experienced Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The Pay Without Prejudice Period is critical to how your workers’ compensation claim may proceed. You don’t want to make any mistakes during this first 180-day period. If you were hurt on the job or are receiving workers’ compensation benefits in Massachusetts and have questions or concerns about your claim, you should speak with a qualified and experienced injury lawyer. The attorneys at Mahaney & Pappas, LLP have over 45 years of combined experience and focus on helping injured workers in Massachusetts. Feel free to give us a call at (508) 879-3500 or fill out our Contact Form on our website.