In the event you find yourself in this situation, you are not without recourse.
An agreement between the parties is binding. Section 19 of the Workers’ Compensation Statute provides that any payment of compensation, written and approved by the Department of Industrial Accidents, shall for all purposes be enforceable in the same manner as an order under Section 12.
So what is Section 12 of the Workers’ Compensation Statute? Section 12 pertains to the enforcement of orders. It gives your Attorney the right to file a complaint in superior court to have the agreement enforced. The superior court is given authority to enforce approved agreements, orders, or decisions of the administrative judges or reviewing board, and its jurisdiction over claims for compensation is limited to those enforcement actions. The key word, approved. Weitzel v. Travelers Ins. Companies, 417 Mass. 149, (1994), tells us that the superior court will be prevented from enforcing agreements that are neither written nor approved by the Department of Industrial Accidents, as the DIA should have an opportunity to approve the agreement between the parties and consider the insurer’s alleged unlawful termination, before any review by the courts.
When dealing with an approved agreement and an insurance company that will not carry out their obligations under that agreement, one must present a certified copy of your workers’ compensation file, in conjunction with a “Plaintiff’s Complaint,” to the superior court department of the trial court for the county in which the injury occurred or for the county of Suffolk.
The Insurance Company’s further failure to comply with a superior court enforcement order will subject the party to a potential contempt action.