If you were injured or became ill on the job, you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There are certain time limits involved, including the amount of time you have to file a claim, when you can expect to receive payment and more. It’s important you understand these limits so you receive the compensation you deserve.
Reporting the Injury or Illness
It’s your responsibility to make sure your employer knows you were injured or became ill. In most situations, management will already know, but you should still submit a formal letter just to cover your tracks. A workers’ compensation lawyer can help you draft the letter to ensure it is clear on where and how you acquired the injury or illness. Depending on where you live and work, you could have a law stating to get this done as soon as you can, or you may have a limit of 10-90 days.
Filing the Claim
Each state in the U.S. has a different law concerning the amount of time you have to file your claim. Many deadlines are between one and three years after the injury or illness is discovered, but there are some that are different. Take some time to become familiar with the laws associated with your state.
There are almost always exceptions to the rule when it comes to claim filing deadlines. If an employee were in a coma, was quarantined or underwent prolonged treatment and couldn’t file on time, the courts will often waive the deadline and allow the person to file anyway.
Receiving Medical Benefits
An employer with knowledge of an employee’s injury and a filed claim will typically be required to pay for medical costs right away. Whether the state, the employer’s insurance company or the actual employer makes those payments, you deserve to have coverage immediately. Your claim does not have to be allowed and it does not have to be accepted to receive compensation for medical costs.
Rather than having to pay upfront at your medical appointments and be reimbursed later, let personnel at the office know you’re in the middle of a workers’ compensation claim. They can then bill the appropriate party.
Receiving Other Benefits
Other benefits such as permanent disability or temporary disability aren’t received until the claim has been allowed or accepted. Even at that point, you’ll have to prove you are entitled. Your doctor, physical therapist, surgeon or other medical professional can help you by completing a form on your behalf. Once that is all taken care of, you can begin a recovery process that doesn’t include stressing over how you’re going to financially survive.
Contacting a Lawyer
Anytime you feel you’re entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, it’s important to speak with a lawyer who can help. Whether you’re worried you waited too long or want to get started right away, contact a lawyer to learn more about the time limits surrounding workers’ compensation.