Workers Compensation: The Statute of Limitations on Benefits

If you have recently suffered a workplace injury, there’s a good chance you’ll be entitled to workers compensation benefits. It all comes down to whether your initial workers compensation claim is approved. Ideally, your employer will approve your claim and you’ll receive benefits almost immediately. However, there are many instances in which the insurance carrier may deny your claim. This is when it’s time to call a Charlotte workers comp lawyer.

We meet with clients every week whose workers compensation claim has been denied. Unfortunately, many of our clients wait too long to meet with an injury attorney in Charlotte. After several months go by, many workers admit that they need help with their claim. By the time they break down and contact a lawyer, a lot of unnecessary time has gone by.

Here, we will discuss how important it is to report your workplace accident to your employer. We will also explain why it is also crucial that you file your claim within the statute of limitations period. If you happen to have questions about your own workers compensation case, call and schedule your free, initial consultation. One of our Charlotte workers comp lawyers can review your claim and help you decide how to proceed.

There is a Big Difference Between the Statute of Limitations and the Deadline for Reporting Your Injuries

When we speak about deadlines and workers compensation, there are two important deadlines you must keep in mind. First, you must ensure that you report your workplace accident to your employer immediately. In North Carolina, you only have 30 days to do this. While 30 days sounds like a long time, you will be surprised how many people wait longer than that to let their employer know that they’ve been hurt on the job. What your injury attorney in Charlotte needs you to do is report your injury the same day it happens. This way, your employer and their insurance company cannot argue that something other than your workplace accident caused your injuries.

The second important deadline you must meet is the statute of limitations. Every state has its own rules about how long you can wait to sue somebody. When it comes to workers compensation cases, North Carolina gives you two years within which you can file your claim. In all the years we’ve been helping clients, very few of them ever wait for the entire two years. It doesn’t make sense to wait that long. Not only will your attorney need time to prepare your case, but they also want to resolve your case as quickly as possible.

You Only Have 30 Days to Report Your Accident to Your Employer

As stated above, you only have 30 days to report your workplace injury to your manager or human resources department. The 30 day starts on the date you suffer your injury. It’s hard to imagine why anybody would wait that long to report a workplace accident. If an accident is serious enough to put you out of work, then it’s something that should be addressed immediately. You should seek medical treatment within minutes of your accident. As soon as you report the accident to your employer, they will send you out for treatment right away.

If, for some reason, you fail to report your injury within this 30 day, your claim will be denied. There will be very little your Charlotte workers comp lawyer can do to fix this. They may be able to argue that your injuries were so serious that you were not physically in a position to report your accident sooner. However, it will be very difficult to convince the North Carolina industrial Commission that you were justified in your delay.

The Statute of Limitations for Workers Compensation is 2 Years

We also mentioned above that the North Carolina statute of limitations for workers comp is 2 years. If you manage to report your workplace accident on time, it’s hard to imagine why it would take two years to file your workers compensation lawsuit. As soon as you find out that your workers comp claim has been denied, you should reach out to an injury attorney in Charlotte immediately. They can file an appeal with your employer and their insurance carrier. If this isn’t successful, they can always file suit on your behalf.

What Happens if You Miss the Filing Deadline?

If you happen to miss the statute of limitations, your claim will be dismissed. The courts take these deadlines very seriously. There are only rare instances in which a judge will extend the statute of limitations period. Some of these include:

  • the accident victim was a minor at the time of the injury
  • the plaintiff has been mentally or physically incompetent to file suit on their own behalf
  • the defendant fraudulently evaded service of process

It is very doubtful that any of these exemptions would apply to a workers compensation case. This means there’s a good chance that your claim will be forever barred if you don’t manage to meet the statute of limitations deadline.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Hire an Injury Attorney in Charlotte

If you’ve been injured on the job, you don’t want to wait too long to meet with an experienced injury attorney in Charlotte. Even though the statute of limitations is 2 years for workers compensation, your attorney will need plenty of time to prepare your case. They will also need time to negotiate a settlement with your employer. This is why we recommend you contact our office to schedule your free, initial consultation right away.

Once you’ve had a chance to meet with one of our Charlotte workers comp lawyers, you’ll have a better idea of how to proceed. If your attorney believes you have a valid case, they may be willing to file suit on your behalf. This is why the free consultation is so important. Not only does it give you a chance to decide if you want to hire an attorney, but it gives our attorneys a chance to see if they want to represent you.

Since this consultation is free, and since you don’t pay our office a dime until your case settles, you have nothing to lose.