People get hurt on the job in a lot of different ways. The workers’ comp claim time limit is the same regardless of the severity of your injuries. The time limit, called the ‘statute of limitations,’ is different in every state. If you fail to file a claim during the allotted time frame, you could lose your right to get benefits. There are also laws about how long you have to report your injury to your employer.
The amount of time you have to report your injury to your employer is much shorter than that for filing a claim. For example, California requires you to provide written notice to your employer within 30 days of the date of your injury. Some states have a much shorter time limit. In addition, you must complete the employee’s section of the workers’ comp claim and submit it to your employer during the 30-day time frame.
The time limit for filing a workers’ comp claim is usually between one and three years. In most cases, missing the deadline will forfeit your rights. However, there are some exceptions to the law. For example:
- Your injuries are severe and require urgent and long-term treatment
- You were in a coma as a result of your injury
- You were placed in quarantine due to your injury
In these cases, you may still claim benefits if you provided the written notice within the 30 day time period. The same is true if your immediate supervisor knew about your condition.
Reasons People Sometimes Miss the Workers’ Comp Claim Time Limit
People miss the deadlines for reporting their injury and filing a claim for several reasons. Some include:
– Not Realizing Their Injuries Are Covered
Sometimes people aren’t aware that workers’ comp is available to them or they believe that their specific injury isn’t covered. Many employees don’t know that their employers must carry workers’ compensation insurance. Almost every employer must purchase workers’ compensation insurance. If they don’t, this leaves them open to a personal injury lawsuit when an employee is injured.
If you get injured on the job, report it to your supervisor immediately. Insist on submitting a written claim. If they claim they aren’t required to have insurance, or they aren’t forthcoming with the paperwork, talk with a workers’ compensation attorney right away. As long as you meet the workers’ comp claim time limit, you have the legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries.
– They Don’t Think They Were ‘On the Job’
Work-related injuries don’t have to be at the worksite or while working with dangerous equipment. The law states that injuries must result from an accident that ‘arises out of and in the course of employment’ to qualify for workers’ compensation. This definition includes performing work duties or activities related to their employment. They might be anywhere on the premises, or in a vehicle making a delivery or pickup. Off-site meetings or mandatory events are also considered job-related.
– They Didn’t Get Injured During an Accident
Employees sometimes think only injuries caused by a single event are covered. Sometimes, illnesses or injuries occur over time. Repeated use, exposure to toxins, and situations that cause mental disorders or depression are also considered worker’s comp injuries. It is more difficult to prove some of these are work-related but an experienced workers’ comp attorney knows what it takes to prove your case.
– They Don’t Think Their Injuries Are That Severe
If they don’t have open wounds or broken bones, it’s easy for people to think they don’t have any serious injuries. Sometimes injuries don’t appear for hours or even days after an accident. That’s why employees should always report accidents, even if they don’t think their injuries are serious. Otherwise, proving their claim can be difficult down the road.
– They Don’t Understand How Workers’ Compensation Works
The majority of employees never have to learn how workers’ compensation works. When an injury does occur, they have no idea how to file a claim.
The process begins with informing your employer about your injury. The next step is to start preparing for your case. Missing the workers’ comp claim time limit can ruin your case. But meeting it doesn’t guarantee your employer or the insurance company won’t deny your claim. Insurance companies count on a person’s naivete of the system to prevent paying them any benefits. Many claims are denied the first time around with the hope that the employee will drop the claim altogether.
Even if you have a denied claim, an experienced workers’ comp attorney can help you appeal your claim.
Other Time Limits
Sometimes it isn’t a matter of getting compensated for an injury and recovering. Some workers’ comp injuries get worse over time. If the condition worsens after the workers’ comp benefits end, the employee can request the insurance company to open their claim again. The time limit for reopening a workers’ comp claim is usually between three and five years.
Injured employees must submit their medical bills to their employer for medical compensation. They should inform all of their medical providers that theirs is a workers’ compensation case. This allows them to bill their employer or the insurance company directly. This helps ensure they meet the deadline for processing the medical bills.
Talk with a Workers’ Comp Attorney
Workers’ compensation law is confusing to someone who has never dealt with filing a claim before. A workers’ comp attorney knows the local and federal laws that apply to every case. Never take your employer’s word or that of the insurance company that you have already missed the workers’ comp claim time limit. Contact a workers’ comp attorney to learn the time limit and any exceptions to the law that might apply to your case.
If you have had a work-related injury or a denied claim, contact The House of Workers’ Compensation. We offer a free consultation to help you understand your rights and any options available to you. You deserve compensation for your injuries. Get the medical treatment you need and get back to your life!