How the Statute of Limitations Can Affect Your Claim for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in Massachusetts

Legal News GavelWhen you are hurt at work, just as if you are hurt in an auto accident or in a slip and fall, it is important to take prompt action. In general, the law gives you a limited period of time in which to pursue a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. In order to make sure that you are doing everything possible to protect your rights, it pays to retain knowledgeable Massachusetts workers’ compensation counsel, who can make sure that your case is handled properly and in a timely manner.

An example of how limitations periods in workers’ compensation cases can work was the case of an injured Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority employee. Michael suffered an injury at work on July 8, 2004. That injury resulted in his undergoing shoulder surgery that October. In May 2008, Michael filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. Unfortunately for Michael, he injured that same shoulder a second time at work. Ten months after the second injury, in July 2013, the worker filed another claim, with this one seeking benefits related to the 2012 injury.

Eventually, the judge issued an award of benefits to Michael in 2014. In 2015, he filed another workers’ compensation claim, seeking additional benefits relating to each of the 2004 and 2012 injuries. The judge dismissed Michael’s 2015 filing, ruling that he filed it too late. The judge wrote that the law requires “claims for compensation to be filed within four years from the date” the worker became aware of his workplace injury, and Michael filed his 2015 case more than seven years after he became aware of his injury. This meant that the statute of limitations had expired, and Michael wasn’t allowed to pursue a claim for any more benefits, according to the judge.

The worker appealed, and he won that appeal. The appeals court’s opinion explained that the four-year statute of limitations could not stop Michael’s 2015 claim. The law clearly states that the “payment of compensation for any injury … or the filing of a claim for compensation … shall toll the statute of limitations,” according to the court. To toll, in this context, means to pause or delay. In Michael’s situation, not only did the employer pay benefits, but also the judge issued an order commanding the employer to pay additional benefits. All of this meant that the expiration of the time period for filing a claim was paused by the payment of benefits and award of additional benefits, and Michael’s 2015 filing was not too late.

To protect your right to recovery under the law to the greatest extent possible, you need Massachusetts counsel who is familiar with all of the aspects of workers’ compensation law. Even if the statute of limitations is paused or delayed for a time in your case, you still have a limited time to make a claim for benefits, so you should act quickly. Contact experienced Plymouth County workers’ compensation lawyer Michael S. Mehrmann. Our team is proud to assist and represent injured workers from across Plymouth County, including in Kingston, Plymouth, Marshfield, Hanson, Carver, Pembroke, and Duxbury. To find out more about how we can assist you, call (781) 585-3911 or contact us online.

More Blog Posts:

Successfully Pursuing an Out-of-State Entity as Part of Your Massachusetts Premises Liability Case, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Dec. 29, 2017

A Boston Paramedic Was Still Entitled to His Workers’ Compensation Benefits Despite Being Suspended from His Job, Plymouth County Injury Lawyer Blog, Dec. 18, 2017