OLD – BUT NOT OUT
If you are an injured worker with a worker’s compensation injury case that is several months or even years old that has not been finalized by settlement or award, don’t assume that you are out of luck and unable to obtain an award by a judge or out-of-court settlement.
The basic statute of limitation for most work-related injuries requires the filing of a certain document with the Worker’s Compensation Appeals Board within one year of the date of your injury, your last injury, or the last benefit you were provided, whichever is later. There are several cases that define a qualifying last benefit, which can include the payment of monetary benefits and/or related medical expenses.
However, even if you are past the one (1) year anniversary of your date of injury or it’s over one year since you last received any money or medical care on your claim, don’t assume you are out.
There are various ways in which statutes of limitation can be extended or “tolled” (i.e., paused). Both have the effect, in many instances, of extending your time to file your documentation and allow you to proceed with a settlement and/or award by a judge. It might be something as simple as the fact that you represented yourself for years and the employer and/or insurance company never informed you of your filing obligations and the time limitations for such, in writing. This alone may save your case and result in you obtaining the substantial award or settlement you deserved all along. It would be a mistake to listen to adjusters or employer representatives that say your file is “closed” or “it’s too late”. It often is not!
So, even if you feel that you have “sat on your rights”, don’t assume you have no recourse. Your matter may be old – but you may not be out of options. You are entitled to certain benefits, including compensation for your injuries. Isn’t it worth the time it takes to contact an attorney that specializes in work injuries to see if he or she can bring life to your claim while, at the same time, compensating you for your injuries and symptoms that have affected your quality of life?