It’s important to know the date of your Illinois work injury in order to receive workers’ compensation. It determines when benefits begin, allows the insurance company to verify your injury and tells them whether you filed a claim within the deadline.

For an injury caused by a specific incident such as a slip and fall, the date of accident is obvious. For an injury that is caused over time, such as a repetitive stress injury, that date can be hard to pinpoint.

The rule, when it comes to accident dates for repetitive stress injuries, is the date on which your injury was apparent and you were aware (or a reasonable person would have been aware) that it was related to your job. This could be the date you see a doctor about arm pain and he or she asks you about your job and diagnoses you with carpal tunnel syndrome, for example.

Telling your doctor what your job entails is important after an injury. If the insurance company tries to argue that your injury was not caused by work, your doctor’s opinion that it was caused by work will be very important.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common example of a repetitive stress injury, but it can be any injury caused by repeating the same motion over and over again. It can be assembly line work, typing, lifting, pushing or pulling, etc.

Illinois law gives you three years from the date of accident to file a claim for benefits. Or, if you have received some form of benefits, then the deadline can be two years from the last payment of those benefits. Whichever of these dates is later, that is your deadline. You also have 45 days to notify your employer of a work injury in order to be eligible for benefits. That 45 days also starts on the date of injury.

If you have questions about the date of your work injury, or any other questions about getting benefits in Illinois, talk to an experienced work injury attorney. Illinois law provides injured workers with disability benefits payments, coverage of 100% of their related medical expenses, and many workers end up with a settlement if their injury is permanent.