If you have a workers compensation claim, you must file it within a specific time-frame known as the statute of limitations. Every state has its own statute of limitations for workers compensation, so be sure to check the laws of the state in which you live. The best policy, is to file your claim as soon as possible.
What is the Time Period for Filing?
As mentioned, each state varies, but the usual time frame to file a workers compensation claim is between 30-90 days (it can be less). Exceptions to this rule will extend the filing period, and instances such as the following may garner more time:
- The injury resulted in coma;
- Traumatic injury which required immediate, yet prolonged treatment; or
- Quarantine resulting from a contagious illness.
Noticeably, exceptions to the statute of limitations involve the employee not being physically able to file a claim. When in doubt, file as soon as possible. Most importantly, keep in mind that the above must have occurred due to a workplace injury/exposure.
What If My Injury Happened Over a Course of Time?
In instances of occupational diseases, the allotted time period is different. Generally, it will begin when you first notice the injury; if possible, see a doctor when you notice symptoms and get it in your medical record. Asbestos poisoning is a common example of an occupational disease, often found in construction workers.
What If I Missed the Statute of Limitations?
If you missed the statute of limitations, you may still have options, such as a claim of negligence. However other types of claims will also have a statute of limitations, and an attorney can best assist you in determining your best course of action. It is also possible to file a claim or notify the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), especially if your injury was due to a workplace safety violation.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Workers compensation claims can be complex, especially with a short filing period. An employment lawyer can help you gather evidence, file your claim, and obtain the best possible settlement to which you are entitled.