Good jobs are hard to find. If you have a good job, you most likely want to keep it. I have noticed a trend of reluctance to file workers’ compensation claims for fear of losing a good job. As a result, some workers who have been injured on the job wait too long to file a claim. How late is too late to file a claim?
Generally, you have two years from the date of an injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. If you fail to file a claim within two years, your claim will be barred by the Statute of Limitations. Please be aware: reporting an injury or receiving some benefits is not the same as filing a claim. To file a claim, you must complete an Employee Claim Form and submit it to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission.
There are a number of exceptions to the two year Statute of Limitations:
(1) If you report the injury and miss more than 3 days of work, your employer must file a First Report of Injury with the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. If your employer fails to file a First Report of Injury, the two year limitation does not begin to run until the First Report of Injury is filed.
(2) If the employer or the workers’ compensation insurance company make promises to you (such as: “we will take care of everything; you do not need to file a claim”) that you rely upon in not filing a claim, then those facts may extend the limitation period beyond two years.
My best advice: DO NOT WAIT to file a claim. An employer cannot fire you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Call an attorney as soon as you have an on the job injury. An attorney cannot charge you a fee unless you receive money and that fee is approved by the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission. If you have waited longer than two years, do not despair. There still may be a way to revive the claim based upon the exceptions above. Call today.
Coming soon: a short article on occupational disease claims and the Statute of Limitations.