Statute of Limitations for Workers Compensation Claims

Statute of LimitationsThe statute of limitations sets the deadline for when claims must be filed. That deadline varies on the situation, but, generally, filing sooner is better than later. Missing a deadline means your workers compensation claim will be dismissed. If you’ve been injured at work in the Council Bluffs area you need to file on time so the merits of your claim can be heard, not just thrown out because of a technicality. There are various deadlines for filings for Iowa workers compensation benefits, depending on the situation.

Deadlines for Iowa workers compensation benefits

Notice of Injury

The employee must give notice or inform his or her employer of a work related injury within ninety days from when the employee knew, or should have known, the injury arose out of and in the course of employment or benefits may be denied.

As a practical matter you should tell your employer, in writing (it may have a form for you to fill out, keep a copy), as soon as possible. The longer the delay the greater the risk your employer, or its insurance company, will claim the injury happened away from work and deny your benefits.

Occupational diseases can take many months or years to be diagnosed. Those suffering from these conditions need to file a notice of injury 90 days from when you knew, or should have known, the disease was work related.

Under Iowa statute, technically speaking, notice of the injury isn’t required if the employer has actual notice of it. However you shouldn’t rely on employer to tell the truth about its knowledge of your injury.  Co-employees or supervisors that may have had direct knowledge of the injury may no longer be with the employer.  It’s best to protect yourself by filing a written notice.

Iowa law suggests a form, though any notice including relevant information will be enough,

To…………………………………………

You are hereby notified that on or about the ………… day of ……………….. (month), ……..(year), personal injury was sustained by ……………………, while in your employ at ……………………. (Give name and place employed and point where located when injury occurred.) and that compensation will be claimed therefor.

Signed

………………………………..

 

Two-Year Statute of Limitation

If you put your employer on notice of your injury and the employer denied or ignored your notice, you have two years to do something about it (such as applying for arbitration with the Iowa Division of Workers Compensation). Sitting on your rights can result in them being denied.

Three-Year Statute of Limitation

If you gave your employer notice of your work related injury, and benefits were paid, but they were less than you deserved, you have three years from the last payment of weekly benefits to file for additional benefits with the Workers’ Compensation Commissioner.  If this isn’t filed within the three year time frame, those additional benefits may be denied.  This deadline doesn’t include medical expenses reasonably necessary to treat the injury.

Third party claims

In some circumstances a workplace injury was caused, in whole or part, by a third party. This can include situations where the responsible party,

  • Sold or manufactured a defective piece of equipment that failed or a toxic substance or chemical that caused an occupational disease,
  • Drove negligently, colliding into a vehicle driven by an employee, or
  • Was responsible for safety at a worksite, such as during the construction or demolition of a building, but was negligent, causing an injury.

These third party or personal injury claims are normally filed in state court, not through the workers compensation system and there is generally a two year statute of limitations to filing such lawsuits. They offer more types of available damages, such as for pain and suffering, which can’t be received through workers compensation benefits.

Contacting a Lawyer

The Telpner Peterson Law Firm, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, represents employees who have suffered workplace injuries in Iowa or Nebraska. Be aware that a workers’ compensation insurer may deny your case for many reasons, including not filing a claim on time. Our principle workers compensation attorney, Walter Thomas, stands up for you so that you get the maximum benefits under law.

To discuss your case, learn the potential compensation from your claim, and learn the options to obtain workers’ compensation benefits, schedule a complimentary consultation with our Council Bluffs office. Simply call (712) 325-9000 or contact Telpner Peterson Law Firm online.

 

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