Workers’ compensation is an incredible benefit for employees who are injured on the job, but the proper steps must be taken in the proper order to truly benefit from it. If you were injured on the job, there are some deadlines you need to adhere to in order to receive compensation. The following will break it down for you.
Reporting to Your Employer
The first step you should make after seeking medical assistance is reporting your injury to your employer. In many cases, your employer will already be aware of your injury, but ensuring it’s in writing could be a benefit to you if you end up in litigation. It’s not required that you have it in writing, but it is recommended should the employer dispute the claim.
Be very clear in your report about what happened, where it happened, when it happened and that you were doing your job at the time of the injury. Depending on the state you reside and work in, you could have as little as ten days to report, and in other states you could have as many as 90 days.
Filing the Claim
The deadline for filing a workers’ compensation claim varies by state, with some at one year and others at six years. If you don’t know your state’s statute of limitations for workers’ comp, you could run into a problem when you wait too long. The statute begins at the time of injury or illness, or at the discovery of injury or illness. For example, someone whose arm was cut off in a machine will know at the time of injury that he or she was injured, and that is when the statute will begin.
On the other hand, someone who worked in an office for 30 years, unknowingly being exposed to asbestos, may not discover the illness until a year after retirement. That discovery 31 years later is the start of the statute of limitations in which that person can file the claim.
There are a handful of exceptions for people who wish to file a claim, but who have waited longer than the statute of limitations allows. They include people who end up in a coma, those with prolonged treatments and employees who are quarantined.
Contacting Your Lawyer
Whether you’re worried about your deadline or not, contacting a workers’ compensation lawyer is always a step in the right direction. Contact a lawyer today for answers to your questions regarding this benefit, or to find out if you have a case.