A statute of limitations provides a time limit in which a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit without it being barred from the court. While there exist few exceptions, if the time limit passes the plaintiff will be barred forever from bringing their suit. This article will discuss the statute of limitations for workplace injuries.
The amount of time that a plaintiff has to sue depends on a number of factors. Every state has its own statute of limitations, some have a relatively short period of time to bring forth the suit while others have much longer times.
It is important to note that the type of claim can impact the statute of limitations. There's generally one statute of limitations for certain personal injury claims and another for worker’s compensation claims. As with the statute of limitations for personal injury claims, worker’s compensation statute of limitations vary by each state. This is so because worker’s compensation is regulated on the state level by a state agency. Many states have a one-year statute of limitations to file a worker’s compensation case. The state of Wisconsin is much more generous in its time limit which is 12 years. However, the state of Alaska provides two years to file a claim if the insurer denies the employees benefits.
It must be noted that there may be different time limits for worker’s compensation claims that are based on workplace illnesses or seriously traumatic injuries. In some instances, if an employee was injured in a workplace accident, he or she may be able to file a personal injury claim rather than a worker’s compensation claim. This could be as a result of the employer not being covered by worker’s compensation insurance or if a third party was responsible for the accident.
If the claim is to be filed under worker’s compensation laws there may also be a time limit imposed on when the employee must notify the employer of the injury or illness. This time limit is 30 days and such notice may need to be given in writing.
Another factor that can affect how long you have to file a case regarding a workplace injury is when you actually discover the existence of the injury. It is important to note that, generally, the statute of limitations starts running when the victim knows that he or she has been injured. This rule is based on reasonableness. Therefore, the statute of limitations may begin to run when the victim reasonably should have known that they had suffered a workplace injury or was suffering from a workplace illness.
For example, if a victim was injured in a scaffolding accident the statute of limitations would probably begin on the day after the accident happened. But a victim who slowly becomes sick because of inhaling dangerous chemicals or materials, like asbestos, may only reasonably discover their illness sometime after they first came into contact with the dangerous chemicals or materials. Therefore, this rule depends on reasonable conduct.
There may be other extenuating circumstances that may extend the statute of limitations. To know whether your statute of limitations deadline has passed contact a personal injury attorney Wasilla Ak.