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Important time limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim

Posted on Thursday, November 27th, 2008 at 11:33 am    

Reporting of Claims: An Employer’s First Report of injury must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner when an employee alleges an injury arising out of and in the course of employment, which results in time lost from work of more than three days, permanent injury, or death. The report is to be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner within four days of notice or knowledge of the injury. The report is also to be filed with the insurer so the employee’s claim can receive proper consideration. Forms for reporting injuries may be obtained from the workers’ compensation commissioner.

Notice of Injury: The law provides that the employer must have notice or knowledge of an alleged injury within 90 days of its occurrence; if not, benefits may be denied. The 90-day period begins to run when the employee knew, or should have known, the injury arose out of and in the course of employment. The employee must notify the employer of the injury within 90 days. It is best to notify your employer in writing and to keep a copy of the notice for your own records. If a 90-day notice is not given by the worker, all rights to workers’ compensation benefits are lost, unless the employer has actual notice of the injury.

Statute of Limitations: The statute of limitations is the period within which you must bring a claim. Generally, the statute of limitations for an injury is two years from the date of the injury. If you’ve been paid weekly workers’ compensation benefits, then the statute of limitations is three years from the date of the check that was the last weekly payment. Payment of medical benefits (doctor bills, hospital bills, etc.) does not extend the two years from the date of injury that you normally have within which you must file suit. If you’ve received medical benefits, but not weekly checks for your time off work, or weekly checks from someone other than the workers’ compensation insurance company, then you only have two years from the date of injury to file. If you don’t file within the statute of limitations period, then your right to file a claim based upon your injury will be lost forever.

For more information, contact Kent Smith at Leehey Olson Law, P.C. and check out the Iowa Division of Workers’ Compensation website.

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