Pay Without Prejudice Period (PWOP): IF YOU RECEIVE A LETTER CONTACT A LAWYER BEFORE SIGNING IT!
When you report an injury to your employer one of two things can happen: (1) the workers’ compensation insurance company (WC) will either deny benefits or (2) they will pay them.
When the WC immediately agrees to pay benefits, its agreement to do so does not obligate them to continue for any specific length of time. The Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation law allows them to voluntarily pay benefits for 180 days (6 months) without committing to anything. This is called the “pay without prejudice period” or PWOP.
During this 6-month period the insurance company can stop paying you benefits at any time as long as they give you 7 days written notice. If you get this notice and still need benefits it is then your responsibility to pursue your benefits by filing a claim.
If the insurance company pays benefits beyond this initial 6-month period then, by law, they have “accepted” liability for your case and they are now prohibited from stopping your benefits without first getting permission from a judge.
Form 105. This is good for them, but bad for you.
As you can imagine, the insurance company likes to control the situation and they do not want to have to go to court to stop your benefits. In order to accomplish this the insurance company will often send a letter that asks you to sign a Form 105. By signing this form you agree to extend the PWOP period for an additional 180 days. This is good for them, but bad for you.
By extending the PWOP the insurance company once again has the right to stop your benefits whenever they want as long as they give you 7 days notice. They can literally stop them one day after you have signed this agreement.
The cover letters insurance companies use to request your signature on Form 105 are written to make it seem like it is a win/win situation or, at least, no big deal. It is a big deal. Don’t sign it unless you are very sure that you are close to returning to work with no restrictions and no permanent disability.