What is Pay Without Prejudice (Form 105)?
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An accident at work can be traumatic and painful. If you or a loved one have been injured on the job, it is important to protect yourself and talk to an experienced workers compensation attorney in Massachusetts. However, the workers’ compensation process is complicated. One error can result in denial of claims, denial of treatment, or termination of employment.
If you have contracted an illness at work, or sustained a workplace injury, our workers’ compensation attorneys at the Bellotti Law Group, P.C. can help. We have over 38 years of expertise in dealing with workers’ compensation cases. Each of our workers’ compensation attorneys are well prepared to help clients and their families receive the compensation they deserve after a work-related injury. Contact us today at 617-225-2100 for a free consultation.Never Sign Form 105: What Is the Pay Without Prejudice Period?
The Pay Without Prejudice Period in Massachusetts is a period where worker compensation insurers can pay disability benefits without taking responsibility. The Pay without Prejudice Period usually starts on the date of the accident, and continues for the first 180 days of disability following a work-related injury. If a workers' compensation insurer chooses to pay benefits to an injured worker voluntarily, they may pay for the first 180 days without impacting their right to contest any problem that may emerge in the workers' compensation claim.
Since the insurer has not admitted liability, the insurer has the authority to suspend or alter the payment of disability benefits during the 180-day Pay Without Prejudice Period. If the insurance company stops or changes your workers' compensation payments, they must send you a seven days’ notice. Once your benefits have been canceled or changed, you can submit a claim for disability benefits with the Massachusetts Department of Industrial Accidents.What Is Form 105?
Insurance companies will send Form 105 for you to sign. This form extends the Pay Without Prejudice Period from 180 days to 360 days. When you sign the form, it allows an insurance provider to prolong benefits without assuming liability, and also extends the right of insurers to terminate benefits with seven days' notice. Insurance companies do not want to accept liability, so they will use Form 105 as a tool to discontinue your benefits. When you sign Form 105, you give up your legal rights, which can cause your benefits to be discontinued at any moment. Insurance companies will often claim that you should sign the form in order to continue your benefits, however, the form allows insurance companies to discontinue your benefits as long as they give you a weeks’ notice.
The form must be filed 7 days prior to the end of the PWOP. Insurance companies will often send Form 105 as soon as they are notified of your injury, and often before you can speak to an attorney. Contact an attorney before you sign any forms.Can Insurers Automatically Accept Liability?
Unless you have signed Form 105, insurance companies automatically accept liability if they keep paying you after the 180 day Pay Without Prejudice Period. Before terminating or modifying benefits, the workers' compensation insurer must get judicial approval. Knowing whether or not liability has been acknowledged is critical. Once responsibility is acknowledged, the insurer cannot simply cancel or change benefits.How Does This Work?
There are a few times when signing Form 105 makes sense. An expert attorney can assist you in making the best option. Form 105 will not be legitimate without your signature, and the Pay Without Prejudice Period will not be extended for a full year. If the claim is settled without your rights or privileges being determined, relinquished, or lost, the insurer can use Form 105 to prolong your workers' compensation benefits. The employee's signature, as well as that of the judge or conciliator, validates this form.Important Things to Remember
- Within 3 to 4 weeks of your injury, you should start receiving benefits. Payments made within the first 180 days doesn’t mean that the insurer has acknowledged liability. Your weekly compensation may vary.
- Your benefits may be terminated or reduced by the insurer.
- The insurer must explain why your payments have been stopped or reduced.
- The insurer can extend the 180 day term if necessary.
It is critical to seek medical attention as soon as possible following a workplace injury. That's why the state of Massachusetts allows insurance companies to pay workers' compensation benefits before a final judgment is reached. This means insurers can pay you, but also refuse to take responsibility for your injuries. For injured workers and their families, this "pay without prejudice" period can be very stressful.
You might think that if you are injured on the job, and you are getting workers’ compensation, that you don't require legal representation. However, conditions may change rapidly. If something goes wrong, our experienced lawyers at the Bellotti Law Group will be ready to act as soon as possible. Before your situation changes for the worse, hire one of our expert attorneys to help you. Call 617-225-2100 for a free consultation today.