What is the Statute of Limitations on Occupational Diseases?
When you have an accident at work, knowing when to file an accident report is simple — you should file as soon after your accident as possible. This will ensure that there’s an account of your accident in the records, and help prove to the insurance company that there is a need for workers’ compensation coverage.
Keep in mind, workers’ compensation doesn’t cover just accidents; it also covers occupational diseases. The big difference here is that it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact time when the disease first develops. There is a time limit on how long after your disease develops, so it’s important to file for workers’ compensation as soon as you can.
For instance, there was a case in 2012 in which an automotive mechanic assistant visited his doctor with complaints of shoulder pain that was initially diagnosed in 2000. The doctor diagnosed him with severe osteoarthritis, most likely a result of his job, which required frequent use of his arms and shoulders. He was advised that his shoulder might need to be replaced and that he should modify his work in order not to further damage his shoulder.
However, the mechanic continued to work until his retirement in 2009 despite the persistent pain. He often needed his co-workers to complete certain tasks. It was his shoulder pain that caused him to retire.
In 2012, the mechanic visited a doctor for his shoulder pain and was told that he had developed end-stage arthritis in his left shoulder, and that it required surgery. So he followed the doctor’s orders and underwent a surgery to replace his shoulder at the beginning of November. By the end of the month, he filed for workers’ compensation.
Despite the fact that he had developed this condition as a result of the normal duties of his job, the court dismissed his claim because he had waited too long to make his claim. There is a two-year statute of limitation on worker’s comp cases. The good news is that that two years generally begins after your first diagnosis.
If the mechanic had filed for workers’ compensation in 2000 when he received his first diagnosis, it’s likely he would have been covered by workers’ compensation. That’s why if you develop any sort of condition due to your work, it’s important that you file for workman’s comp as soon as you get the diagnosis.
There is a two-year statute of limitations on workers’ comp in cases of occupational diseases. If you’ve developed a condition due to your work, contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.