Consider this scenario - I have a workers' comp case from 2002 when I fell off of a ladder and injured my back. I got sent to the hospital emergency room and had surgery. I then went through physical therapy for about one year. The insurance company then told me I would not get anything else from them and my case is over. I received a letter from them about twelve years ago, but did not understand what it said or what it was about. Do I have any rights?
There is a time period that an injured worker has to file a claim. That is called the statute of limitations. A claim must be filed within this time frame, or the worker will be forever barred from filing. There are certain examples of where the statute may be tolled or made to where it cannot be enforced against the injured worker. An example is the worker did not know that he or she suffered an injury from work and did not become aware until a doctor informed him or her. Another example is the employer did not give the injured worker a claim form once the worker informed the employer about the injury. The typical time frame is one year from the date of injury.
In the above example, the injured worker more than likely will be barred from filing a claim due to the lapse of thirteen years. There is remote possibility if the employer did not follow the law that the statute may toll. If the time frame is approximately two years and the employer did not follow the law, than it is much more possible that a claim could be filed and not be barred by the statute. Therefore in the event that you suspect you have a work injury, then you must take immediate action. It is rarely a valid excuse to say you did not understand the letters you received. Once the letter was received, that is the time to consult an attorney. Of course, every case is unique and a detailed factual analysis will be needed in each situation.
If you have questions about your workers' compensation injury and want to talk to an attorney in Fresno, please call 559-408-7436 or fill out the form to the right.
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