If you’ve recently been injured on the job, you’re probably feeling overwhelmed, especially if you’re researching the laws that relate to the benefits you should receive. You’re probably feeling this way because all the information is new to you. Rest assured, however, that most cases are fairly routine and straightforward.

You don’t need to know everything right away, but there are a couple of things that can make or break your case. Deadlines are one of these things.

The first deadline is giving notice. You have to notify your employer of your work injury within 45 days. This doesn’t have to be in writing, but writing it down is recommended so that you have proof that you met the deadline (make sure you include the date). If you already missed this deadline, don’t assume you’re out of luck. We have seen plenty of cases that go forward despite a missed notification deadline, but you should talk to a lawyer.

The second deadline is filing a claim. You should always file what’s called an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission. Even if you have started receiving benefits without taking this step, you should still file this form. You have three years from the date of your injury or two years from the last payment of benefits (if you have already received benefits), whichever is later. Even though you have years, you should file your claim as soon as possible. A work injury can get harder to prove as time goes by.

Deadlines can be a little trickier when an injury occurs over time and not in a single accident on a specific day. How do you know what your deadlines are? If you have a repetitive stress injury, the “date of injury” for deadline purposes is usually the date on which you realized that you were injured and that it was caused by your job. This could be the day your doctor diagnoses you, for example. So the clock would start to run on that day.

If you have questions about deadlines, or anything else really, let us know. It never hurts to ask, especially when we’ll talk to you for free. We help injured workers by giving them straightforward answers based on our years of experience.