Understanding the Timeline for Filing a Workers' Compensation Claim
If you have been injured on the job, you may be confused about how you can receive compensation for your injuries.
If you were injured on the job, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation. However, it’s important to note that in order to file a legitimate claim and receive timely compensation, you must meet several deadlines in filing your workers compensation paperwork. Below, we’ll outline the key deadlines you need to meet in order to get what you deserve after a workplace injury.
First Deadline: Notifying Your Employer of the Injury and Disability to Work
The first deadline you’ll need to meet is for your employer. You’ll need to speak directly to your employer and notify them of your injury within 30 days of the date of the incident. Ask your employer directly or inquire with the human resources department about how your notification should be formatted. Some organizations will require a written document formatted in a specific way.
Also remember that in some cases, the symptoms of a workplace injury are not noticeable until several days or weeks after the incident itself. In these cases, the date that the symptoms became noticeable is equivalent to the date of incident. Therefore, if you do not notice the symptoms until after the date of incident, your employer must be notified within 30 days of this discovery date.
Second Deadline: Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim with the State
In order to receive remuneration (compensation for your injuries and lost wages), you’ll need to file your claim for workers’ compensation within one year of the date of incident or the date of symptom discovery. If you do not file your claim within a year, you will forfeit your right to compensation for on-the-job injuries.
It’s important to note, however, that there are several exceptions to this rule:
• If remedial care is offered by your employers, you must file for workers’ compensation no more than a year after the final date of your treatment.
• In some cases that involve injuries to minors, a mental incapacity, or employer fraud, you may be able to extend the timeline for filing your workers’ comp claim.
• If weekly benefits were paid to the employee by the employer because of a workplace injury, you’ll have up to two years to file your workers’ comp claim.
When Injuries and Conditions Change Over Time
Certainly with some on-the-job injury situations, symptoms of injuries become worse over time, and this may change your capacity to work at your regular position. If this occurs, you may receive more time to file your workers’ comp claim.
Specifically, if you notice that the symptoms of your injuries became worse over time, you’ll generally have within two to four years of receiving your final payment for benefits to file a workers’ comp claim. Of course, this time frame will largely hinge on what compensation you are intending to recuperate with your claim.
Keep in mind that if you do not meet the two-year deadline, it is possible that you’ll be completely barred from receiving temporary partial benefits or future disability benefits. Furthermore, if you wait for more than four years after receiving your final benefits payment, you’ll become completely ineligible for permanent disability.
What’s the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Many people who have been injured on the job are confused between what is considered a personal injury and what is considered a workers’ compensation situation.
First, it’s important to remember that whenever you are injured while working, you generally cannot sue your employer. Employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance so that, in nearly all cases, they cannot be sued by employees if something happens to those employees on the job.
This leaves employees with several choices. If an employee is seriously injured while at work, and they feel that they endured an excessive amount of pain and suffering, they may decide to sue an at-fault party or more than one at-fault party for damages. For example, if someone was working construction on a highway and they were hit by a pedestrian vehicle, they could sue the driver of that vehicle for damages.
If this is the case, they would be filing a personal injury claim with the driver of the car. And if they won the case, they would receive all of the damages they suffered from the driver, and this may include pain and suffering damages. Workers compensation never includes payment for pain and suffering. Instead, it is a form of government-sponsored insurance that pays for lost wages and medical benefits after an on-the-job injury.
If you are injured on the job and it was no one’s particular fault, you are always eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim as long as you meet the deadlines outlined above. Remember that you will receive medical benefits to pay for your injuries, medications, and any hospitalization costs, and you’ll receive money for lost wages because you cannot work. Again, you will not receive pain and suffering damages with workers’ compensation payments.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Claim
You may be at a difficult crossroads as to which type of claim you should file when you’ve been injured at work. This is when it helps to speak with a lawyer about your situation. A reputable attorney can help you decide between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit.
In some select cases, you may be able to file both. For example, if your workers’ compensation does not cover all of your medical bills and lost wages, and you were injured on the job because of someone’s wrongdoing or negligence.
Connect With a Reputable Attorney Today
If you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third party, remember that you’ll need to file a tremendous amount of paperwork and likely appear in court. All of this can be extremely complicated, but a lawyer can help you figure out each step of the process and file all paperwork on time. They’ll also help you get all of the damages you deserve from your lawsuit.
In the same vein, a reputable attorney would be happy to help you file the necessary paperwork for a workers’ compensation claim if this is the route you decide to take. To learn more about filing the necessary claims after an on-the-job injury, make an appointment with an experienced attorney in your area today.
AUTHOR: Kirk Farrar, Matthew Hennesy, and Drew Tanner
Copyright Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner, LLC
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.