A woman called me wondering if she had waited too long to file her case. She had been injured in 2006.
Generally speaking you have only three years from the accident date to formally file a case. You do this by filing an Application for Adjustment of Claim form with the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission (IWCC). When you do this you don’t have to worry about waiting too long and blowing the statute of limitations.
There is an exception though. If you were paid compensation at any point in the last two years as relates to your injury, the time limit of three years won’t bar your case. Typically this is TTD benefits, but it can also include medical bills being paid or even short term disability benefits in some odd cases.
A few months back we were called by a guy who hadn’t received treatment in years, but received an old medical bill that he submitted to the insurance company. They paid it in error which allowed his dead claim to start again and now he can get a settlement. It’s kind of an odd law, but with the way Governor Rauner is trying to screw injured workers, we’ll take anything we can get.
In this case, the caller actually had been receiving medical care for the last nine years. The insurance company tried to cut her off, but she was a rare worker who went to multiple IME doctors who all found against the insurance company. That said, a nurse case manager has delayed her treatment many times which has caused her injury to worsen and it’s probably why she’s not better after nine years.
For you, there is no reason to delay in filing the case formally with the IWCC. It’s free, it protects you from blowing the time limits and it gives you priority if your case ever needs to go to trial. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to over the years who would have received five or six figure settlements had they not waited too long.
The most common reason for the delay is “I don’t want to sue anyone” but you must remember that these claims aren’t lawsuits, just a claim for benefits. And if you wait too long, you are the only one who will lose out, barring a miracle error by the insurance company.
If you have any questions about the statute of limitations for Illinois work injury claims or anything else, call us at any time. It’s always free and confidential.