AÂ new edition of Hurt on the Job: A Guide to the Massachusetts Workers Compensation System has been published! If you are an injured worker, you need this book! It explains almost everything you need to know about what to expect from the workers compensation system.
The book was made possible through a generous donation of labor and materials by the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The MNA printed the book for Western MassCOSH. The new edition looks great, and we are working on making it available in bookstores throughout the state. In the meantime, you can order a book directly from us. The cost is $15, plus $2 for shipping and handling. Send check payable to Western MassCOSH to 640 Page Boulevard, Springfield, MA 01104. Call (413) 731-0760 for more information.
Â The book explains how to report an injury, the benefits that are supposed to be available, what the court process is like for a contested claim, the pros and cons of settling, medical issues and surviving with a long-term disability. The book also has a section on federal workers compensation that was written by Katherine Smith, an attorney who handles federal workers compensation claims.
Please join us forï¿½our next meeting on Saturday, March 21, 2009
We will meet at 10:30 a.m. atÂ 640 Page Boulevard in Springfield. This is the AFL-CIO building. Parking in theÂ rear of building and on the street. This will be an informational meeting aboutÂ the MassachusettsÂ workers compensation system. Free and open to injured workers and their families. Copies of Hurt on the Job: A Guide to the Massachusetts Workers Compensation System will be on sale at the meeting. For more information, call (413) 731-0760.
If you are receiving a weekly check and your medical bills are being paid, you may expect everything to continue going smoothly. At some point, however, your case may be contested and have to be resolved at the Department of Industrial Accidents. Some cases are contested from the beginning, with the employer refusing to take any responsibility for the injury. In other cases, insurance companies wait to see if you will recover and return quickly to work. If you don't, they may contest the claim. You will receive a letter in the mail with the date and time that you must appear at your local office of the Department of Industrial Accidents.
Stage 1: Conciliation
Don't worry too much about this step. A conciliation is an informal meeting at which your lawyer, the insurance company's lawyer and a conciliator from the DIA try to reach an agreement about your claim. In most cases, you say nothing during the conciliation. In our experience, very few cases are resolved at this stage.
Stage 2: Conference
If nothing is resolved at the conciliation, your case advances to the conference. The letter that notifies you of your conference date will also tell you the name of the judge to which your case has been assigned. The name of the judge may be significant. Some judges are sympathetic toward people who are ill or injured; others have the same negative views of injured workers as the general population. They may be looking for malingerers or believe that "everyone can do something." Asked your lawyer or other injured workers to find out what type of judge is handling your case.