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How Long Can You Wait Before Filing for Workers’ Compensation?

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The window to file a workers’ compensation claim can vary from state to state. Although the United States Department of Labor has a guideline of three years to file a work injury claim, it’s ultimately up to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) in your district to determine the adequate filing timeframe for a work related injury. By categorizing injuries into four different compensation programs, it is meant to make injuries easier to investigate and help determine reasonable time limitations for filing claims.

The Occupational Illness Compensation Program is especially important to Lake Charles, as it not only covers occupational diseases and traumatic injuries but also accidental industrial and building injuries associated with construction of chemical plants like Chemtura, Lyondell and TNT.

Since all injuries aren’t the same, the OWCP allows different filing windows depending on the type of injury sustained and whether or not it was traumatic or occupational.

Timeframe for Filing a Traumatic Injury Compensation Claim

A thirty day window is generally acceptable for minor to severe traumatic injuries. This means that you have thirty days after you become aware—or should’ve become aware—of the injury to inform your employer and file a claim. However, certain case by case incidents allow this window to be extended up to a year; therefore it is always in your best interest to contact an experienced lawyer, even if your injury happened more than 30 days ago, in order to discuss further options to file a claim.

Occupational Injury, Disease and Death Claim Period Windows

Occupational diseases can take months, years or even decades to fully manifest, and the continued exposure to toxic fumes or chemicals can go unnoticed until the disease presents itself. Therefore, the window for such injuries is significantly greater than the window for quickly diagnosable injuries.

Victims of toxic, chemical or industrial exposure, which lead to long-term injuries such as asthma, mesothelioma and lung cancer, have up to three years after injuries were discovered and/or three years after the last date of exposure. If a claim isn’t filed within the three year window, compensation my still be granted as long as the victim notified the employer of the illness, or the employer had knowledge of the injury within 30 days of the initial discovery.

Dependents of those who suffered fatal occupational diseases, have up to one year after the death of the victim to file for compensation on his behalf.

Under state regulations, employers must post time limitations for occupational injury claims in common areas or public spaces; if your employer fails to do so, the time in which you have to file, may be eligible for a six month extension.

Time may be running out to file your claim. Contact us today for more information and a free consultation. Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to help your loved ones stay informed; share this article to make sure they know when to file a claim and to ensure that they’re not left without their benefits.

Category: Workers’ Compensation


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