In addition to helping your lawyer gather evidence and get ahead of the workers’ compensation insurer, prompt action can help you stay within the statute of limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the length of time you have to formally file a workers’ compensation claim.
In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation claims is three years from the date of injury. If you have been injured at work and denied either medical benefits or wage loss benefits under the workers’ compensation law, you must file a Claim Petition within three years of the date of injury. If you do not file your petition within that time, your claim will be barred forever, preventing you from collecting any workers’ compensation benefits for your injuries.
You must report your injury to your employer within 120 days. After that, you become ineligible to receive benefits. If you inform your employer of your injury within 21 days, you can be awarded benefits as of the date of your injury. Beyond 21 days, you can only be awarded benefits as of the date you report your injury.
What are some other time limitations?
Keep in mind that there may be some circumstances where you are not even aware you have an injury, such as carpal tunnel or a serious illness. In these circumstances, it is important to report your condition as soon as your doctor gives you a diagnosis and relates it to your employment.
Another example, for a loss of use of hearing from the long-term exposure to hazardous noise, a claim must be brought within three years of the last exposure to hazardous noise. On the other hand, with regard to an occupational disease contracted from exposure to a workplace hazard, disability (lost wages) must occur as a result of the occupational disease within 300 weeks (about six years) of the last exposure to the hazardous toxin.
When should you report your injury?
As soon as you are injured on the job, you should report the injury to your employer, even if the injury does not cause you to miss time from work. It is suggested that the notice be given in writing, but if that’s not possible, remember that you, or someone acting on your behalf, must report that you were injured and that your injury was caused by your job.
Also, even if you only suspect that you may have an occupational illness, you should report it. The injury must be reported to your supervisor or the person whose job it is to prepare injury reports.
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