A common question among workers who have job-related injuries is how much time they have to bring their claim under Illinois workers’ compensation law. It’s a very important question, because if you miss the time period for filing, you could lose your right to bring your case at all.
There are actually two important time periods to consider. The first, is the period to give notice to your employer that you were injured and that the injury arose out of your employment. You should notify your employer as soon as possible, but not longer than 45 days after the date you became injured and knew it was work-related.
The second period is the statute of limitations period to file your claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. You have the longer of: two years from the last payment of compensation from your job, or three years from the date of your injury.
With regard to the determination of the three-year limitations period that runs from the injury date (as well as the 45 day notice period), sometimes it’s a bit more complicated to determine the exact date of the injury. This is especially so where the injury is not a one-time accident, but rather a repetitive trauma. Generally, in this situation, the date of injury would be the point in time that a reasonable person would become aware of the causal relationship between the fact of the injury and the employment. You have to use great care with a repetitive trauma injury, that you discern the correct date, and do not let your notice or filing time lapse. Even if you continue working with your injury, the time will continue to run out. There is no relevance to the last day you were able to work, only the day that the injury and its connection to your job manifested itself.
When calculating the two-year limitations period that runs from the last payment of compensation, there can be pitfalls there too. What constitutes “compensation?” This could include payments such as workers’ compensation benefits, employer group insurance benefits, and wages that are not merely salary, but are related to the injury or disability. You should be wary of statements made by your employer or the insurance company about the nature of any payments, and the implications for filing your claim on time.
Whether it relates to payments you received, or the date you were injured, checking out the specific facts of your situation with a good workers’ compensation attorney will help you to avoid getting locked out from bringing your claim.
We are workers’ compensation attorneys that help people with Illinois work injuries anywhere in IL via our statewide network of attorneys. Contact us and we will answer your questions or find the right lawyer for your situation.