You go to work to earn a living to support yourself and your family. You do not expect to be involved in a workplace accident that results in serious injury. Unfortunately, injuries sustained on the job are very common, and they can seriously impact every area of your life. All employers in Louisiana are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, even if they only have one employee. As such, if you have been hurt, you likely have a right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
If you are successful with your workers’ compensation claim, you can recover your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. You only have the right to claim these benefits, though, if you file your claim on time. Below, our Baton Rouge workers’ compensation lawyer outlines the most critical timelines in workers’ compensation claims.
Timeline for Reporting the Accident to Your Employer
You should report any accident resulting in injury to your employer as soon as possible. This will ensure you receive the immediate medical treatment you need and possibly give your employer notice that you will be unable to work for a period of time. Under the law, you have 30 days to report workplace accidents to your employer. If you do not tell your employer about your injury within this time, you may lose your right to file any workers’ compensation claim.
Timeline for Obtaining Medical Benefits
If medical benefits have not been paid yet for a workplace accident, employees have one year from the date of their injury to file a claim for medical benefits. However, if medical benefits have been paid and employees need additional benefits in the future, the time limit is three years from the date of the last payment to file a medical benefits claim. This time limit is known as the prescriptive period under Louisiana law, which is commonly known as the statute of limitations in other states.
Timelines for Lost Wages, or Indemnity, Benefits
Like medical benefits, if an employee has not received any benefits for lost wages, or indemnity, the worker has one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. If the employee has received either medical or indemnity benefits, they have one year from the date of the last received payment to pursue additional benefits such as Temporary Total Disability (TTD), Permanent Partial Disability (PPD), or Permanent Total Disability (PPD) benefits.
Timelines for Occupational Disease Claims
Sometimes, employees are hurt not because of an accident but rather by continuous exposure to hazardous conditions. These injuries are known as occupational illnesses, and they have a different timeline than injuries caused by workplace accidents. Employees who suffer from an occupational disease must file Form 1008 within one year of:
- The manifestation of the disease,
- The employee sustaining a disability caused by the disease, or
- The employee knows, or has reason to suspect, the disease is occupational
Employees must file within one year of whichever of the above occurs last. For example, an employee may be diagnosed with an occupational illness such as mesothelioma. If the employee learns six months after the diagnosis that they were regularly exposed to asbestos on the job and that caused the occupational illness, they have one year from the date of that discovery to file a workers’ compensation claim.
The Developing Injury Rule
Not all injuries are apparent right away. There are times when an employee is in a workplace accident, but they are not immediately disabled. Over time, though, the employee may suffer from a developing injury, and now they need benefits to help with their recovery. Under state law, an injury develops when it is evident the employee can no longer perform their employment duties. In these cases, injured workers can file a claim within one year of developing the injury but no later than three years after the initial accident.
If proceedings in a developing injury case start two years after the accident but before the three-year deadline expires, workers are sometimes entitled to receive Temporary Total Disability (TTD) benefits for up to six months.
Our Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Baton Rouge Will File Your Claim on Time
If you have been injured at work, you may be eligible for benefits, but it is critical to make sure your claim is filed on time. At Big River Trial Attorneys, our Baton Rouge workers’ compensation lawyer will handle every aspect of your claim and ensure it is filed properly and on time so you do not forfeit your rights. Call us now or contact us online to schedule a consultation and learn more.