I should call this post saved by the insurance company.
A woman called me wanting to know if it was too late to file a claim. Generally you have three years from the accident date or two years from the last payment of compensation (such as TTD benefits or payment of a bill) to file a claim.
What happened to her is she was badly injured in 2006 and treated for five years. All the bills were paid as was most of her time off of work. She stopped treating in 2011 and was given a low ball settlement offer at that time. She declined it, but then got really sick and put everything on hold while she dealt with cancer.
She called back this year to say that she wanted to take the settlement offer and two things happened. First, the insurance adjuster told her that she waited too long and the offer is now off the table. Second, the adjuster told her that looking in the file, they realized they do owe her one week of TTD benefits and sent her a check for that.
That was a huge mistake by the insurance company. Even though the case was essentially dead, by sending the check, the case had new life. She has two years from when that check was paid to file the case now.
It was really a big goof up, but it’s for the benefit of an injured worker so I’m of course thrilled that it happened. Beyond that, the original offer was terribly unfair so we can get her a much better deal. She’s downstate, so I referred her to a lawyer in our statewide network in central Illinois who has a history of getting great results.
For you, you don’t want to wait too long to formally file a case because stuff like this can happen. Also, the sooner your case is filed (which means filing an application for adjustment of claim with the state, this is the first thing a lawyer does) the higher priority you have to get a hearing before an Arbitrator if you ever need to. This can be really important, especially if you want to keep your medical rights open in case you have trouble in the future.
Bottom line, don’t mess with the statute of limitations by waiting too long. Most people won’t get a miracle from the insurance company if they blow it.