If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you should be aware of important deadlines that deal with reporting and filing a claim. You could be in danger of losing your rights to be compensated for your injuries if you fail to file in time. Knowing these deadlines in advance will help you to be proactive in dealing with your injury.
It's important to note that while each state has different rules about deadlines, the following are common and general guidelines that most states follow. Additionally, if you work for a federal agency, your workers compensation program is overseen by the Department of Labor.
Report The Injury
No matter what the deadline in your state is for filing a workers compensation claim is, you must report your injury or illness to your supervisor as soon as possible. Most states do not have specific time requirements about this reporting, but failure to report in a timely manner could cause your claim to be denied. The delay in reporting could be regarded as evidence of a lack of severity by the workers compensation insurance company.
When you report your injury or illness to your supervisor, you must make it clear that it was work-related and that you want to file for workers comp. Normally, a verbal notification is sufficient. Once your employer is informed about the injury, they should start the process of filing your workers compensation claim, but it is in your best interest to follow up and ensure that the paperwork gets filed as soon as possible.
File The Claim
In general, you have about 30-90 days to file a workers compensation claim, depending on your state. Most states administer their workers compensation program under the state's department of labor and have online information about filing deadlines.
There are normally exceptions that allow you to file later, such as being hospitalized or having a cumulative illness. A cumulative disorder is caused by continuous and prolonged use of a body part that gradually worsens over time. Carpel tunnel syndrome caused by keyboard use is an example of a cumulative trauma. For this exception, you would need to file as soon as you are aware of the injury or have been diagnosed by a doctor.
A workers compensation attorney can be a valuable asset when it comes to dealing with the confusing rules and deadlines for workers compensation. You will need an advocate who has expertise dealing with every aspect of getting you not only what you deserve from workers comp, but who can take it even further and file suit against your employer's workers comp insurance company, if necessary.
For more information, contact Zavodnick, Perlmutter & Boccia LLC or a similar firm.