The workers’ compensation system is designed to provide monetary compensation for injured workers, but in order to receive this award, the injured employee must meet certain deadlines. These deadlines can oftentimes get overlooked because the employee wants to focus on their health, not on filing paperwork. Below, we take a closer look at the deadlines injured workers must meet in order to receive their compensation award, and we share one key tip for making sure you never miss a deadline.
Workers’ Compensation Deadlines
The first deadline you need to meet after a work injury is pretty basic, and it involves informing your employer of your injury. Oftentimes this is called a First Report of Injury. You need to speak directly to your manager or human resources department and report the injury, and you need to do this within 30 days of the injury.
The sooner you report the injury, the better, because if you wait days or weeks, the insurance company may deny the claim on the belief that the injury may have occurred outside of work. Waiting to report the injury only makes it harder to prove your claim, even if it’s totally legitimate. On the rare occasion that symptoms don’t begin until after the 30-day deadline, you may still be able to file, because Minnesota says you have 30 days from the discovery of symptoms to report the injury to your employer.
The next deadline you have to meet is to file your workers’ compensation claim. In order to receive compensation for your injuries and lost wages, you’ll need to file the claim within one year of the date that the injury occurred or symptoms began. If you don’t file within one year, you will forfeit your opportunity to receive compensation for that injury, although certain exceptions exist:
- If the case involves a minor, mental incapacity, or employer fraud, the one-year deadline may be extended.
- If weekly benefits are paid to the employee by the employer due to a workplace injury, you’ll have a one year extension to file your compensation claim.
- If your employer offers remedial care, you have one year to file your claim from the final date of treatment.
If your injury symptoms get worse over time, you’ll have between two and four years from the date of your final payment to file an adjusted claim. Your exact deadline will depend on your specific case, which is why the next point is our best piece of advice after a work injury.
Making Sure You Meet Deadlines
If you want to ensure you meet all the deadlines, and there may be a few more based on the type of compensation you are pursuing, the single best advice we can offer is to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. They know all the deadlines without having to research them, and they will ensure that all of your paperwork is filed on time. Not only can they help you meet every deadline, but they can create a clear argument that will leave no doubt that you are deserving of a compensation award.
Lastly, as we alluded to in the intro, one of the biggest benefits of hiring an attorney is that they will handle the legal aspect of everything, which will allow you to focus solely on recovering and rehabbing. You don’t need to juggle paperwork and medical appointments. Let a lawyer handle the workers’ compensation process while you focus on your health. You’ll be better off for it.
For more information or if you have any questions about certain deadlines, reach out to Dean Margolis today.
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