Workers’ compensation attorneys are often asked what about the statute of limitations. Injured workers are allotted a certain time in which to file a claim to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
In Georgia, there are four main workers’ compensation statutes of limitations that could bar an injured worker from filing a claim or receiving benefits. But there are circumstances that may allow workers to get around these time limitations.
First, Tell Your Employer About Your Work Injury
The first-time limitation injured workers face is the requirement to report an injury to their employer. Georgia requires that injured workers report their injuries to their employers within 30 days.
Failure to report your injury within the allotted 30 days can prove costly. Once the notification deadline has expired, you could be prevented from filing your claim. If that happens, you may not receive any of the medical benefits or monthly compensation that workers’ comp insurance would otherwise have provided.
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All-Issues Statute of Limitations
The “all-issues” statute of limitations refers to actually filing a claim before the worker has received medical or income benefits. Injured workers must file their claim within a year of the accident or disability.
If the worker received medical care that the employer paid for, then the worker must file a claim within a year of the date the worker last received treatment. And if you continued to work after the accident, but had to quit because of your worsening symptoms, you must file the claim within a year of the date you stopped working.
Injured workers must file a Form WC-14 and serve a copy upon the employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
Change of Condition Statute of Limitations
This statute of limitations applies if you already filed your claim, but your condition worsened since that time. In this case, you could seek recommencement of your income benefits based on a “change of condition.” You must do this within two years of the last date temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits was “actually made.”
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Permanent Partial Disability Statute of Limitations
If your condition causes permanent impairment, you can apply for permanent partial disability benefits. However, a good workers’ compensation attorney knows that you must do so within four years of the last date that temporary total disability benefits or temporary partial disability benefits was “actually made.”
Death Benefits Statute of Limitations
Finally, if you lost a loved one to a work-related accident or condition, then you can apply for death benefits. You must make any claim for death benefits within a year after the worker’s death.
You May Nullify or Toll the Statute of Limitations
There are circumstances where a worker may nullify the statute of limitations or toll (delay) it. Bader Scott Injury Lawyers and our workers compensation attorneys will go over whether any of these circumstances apply:
- The employer or insurer made a false statement or misrepresentation to the employee
- The employer or insurer assured the employee that it would pay benefits
- The injured employee was incompetent to file the claim
How Long Does the Filing Process Take?
If you file your workers’ comp claim independently, only you can determine how long it takes. You can potentially streamline the process by:
- Gathering all necessary documents and evidence beforehand
- Reading and understanding the application
- Obtaining legal guidance and support from the beginning
Getting workers’ comp benefits is a complex process with many must-complete steps. However, when a workers’ compensation attorney in your area represents you, they can help.
Your lawyer will clarify any confusing language or jargon. They will also review your information for accuracy and completeness before submitting it.
How Long Does it Take to Start Receiving Benefits?
The first seven days after you are injured or diagnosed with a workplace-related injury are not covered by workers’ comp insurance. If your disabling injury or illness lasts more than seven days and your application is approved, you should receive your first payment promptly.
You will usually get this initial check within three weeks (21 days). If your disabling condition lasts longer than 21 days, your compensation will include that first week. If your application is approved, but your benefits are delayed, you could review the delay with a member of your legal team.
How Much Monthly Compensation Will I Get?
Every injured worker — even coworkers with similar disabling conditions — could receive different monthly compensation amounts because the compensation you qualify to recover is formulaic. Thus, an average of your usual weekly salary or wages determines how much you receive.
Your compensation is two-thirds of this calculation. The maximum you can receive is capped at $725.00 per week for injuries and illnesses that happened on or after July 1, 2022. Your lawyer can help ensure your average weekly wages are accurately assessed.
How Long Will My Workers’ Comp Financial Benefits Last?
This, too, can vary. In most cases, you could receive benefits for up to 7.69 years or 400 weeks. Depending on the nature and extent of your disability:
- You may be entitled to lifetime benefits for catastrophic disabilities
- The benefits you receive could be reduced upon your return to work with certain limitations
- The benefits you receive could be stopped upon your return to work with no limitations
Your lawyer will clarify which conditions apply to your situation. They can also help you file an appeal or request a hearing. This option is available if you believe your benefits were prematurely or unfairly reduced or suspended.
How Long Will I Keep Receiving No-Cost Medical Care?
The time limit on workers’ comp medical care benefits varies based on the date of your disability. For example, if your injury or illness occurred prior to July 1, 2013, you could receive no-cost medical care for up to 400 weeks.
Any subsequent workplace disabilities could mean you are entitled to medical care throughout your lifetime. In addition, you might receive lifetime medical care for injuries categorized as catastrophic.
Contact One of Our Workers’ Compensation Team Members Today
Contact us to speak with a workers’ compensation team member today. We’ll help you file on time and explore any options to nullify or toll the statute of limitations if necessary.