New Hampshire workers who are injured on the job or suffer an occupational illness due to their work rely on workers’ compensation benefits to get them through. It pays for medical treatment and provides wage coverage for the time they are off the job among other benefits.
However, not every injury or illness is immediately clear. In some cases, people are unaware that they have been hurt or became ill at work and do not file their workers’ compensation claims immediately. In others, they fail to file the claim quickly for other reasons such as fear that they will lose their job or a misunderstanding of the process. Workers should be cognizant of why they should file their claims as soon as possible. Failure to do so could damage their ability to all the benefits they are entitled to. Or they might not be approved at all.
Workers’ compensation time limitations and state laws
Workers are advised to file their claim the moment they realize they are injured or ill from their work. This can be hindered by a lack of awareness that they were injured or have a work-based illness. Still, the laws are clear on these matters. There is a difference between the notice of injury and the time limitations for filing a claim.
Regarding notice of injury, the worker will have two years from the date at which it occurred to inform the employer so a claim can be made. For those who have an occupational illness that did not show obvious symptoms, the worker must let the employer know when it started and how it is connected to their work.
When filing the claim and seeking workers’ compensation benefits, it must be filed within three years after the injury occurred. For instances when the worker was unaware they were injured, the clock to file a claim will start when the worker knows of the injury or should know of the injury, whichever is earlier.
A worker being unsure of the extent of an injury is not unusual. If, for example, a construction worker feels a twinge in their back when lifting something, they might initially think it is little more than a normal consequence of the job that they have felt before and it is not serious. In truth, they might have a severe injury that prevents them from doing their job and they are entitled to workers’ compensation. As soon as it is evident that it might be a workers’ compensation case, the employer must be informed and the process to get benefits should start.
Workers’ compensation claims can be complex and help could be critical
For workers who are unsure of the workers’ compensation laws and what they are supposed to do when they are applying for benefits, it is important to have professional guidance. Consulting with experienced professionals who are pillars in the community and care about their clients’ needs can be a key aspect toward building a positive client-attorney relationship and be helpful with the case.
Experience is essential in workers’ compensation claims, especially when there are underlying issues like allegations that the worker did not submit the claim in time, the injuries are not severe enough to warrant benefits, there is a dispute as to the extent of the injuries and more.
Many people in the Granite State work in labor-intensive jobs like construction, warehouses, repairs, contracting and more. First responders are also vulnerable to injuries. Any worker regardless of the level of exertion required can suffer injuries or conditions from their job.
It might seem like a minor issue, but understanding when to file and the time limitations can be essential. Whether there are obstacles to getting approval or not, it is wise to have assistance from the start to ensure the process goes smoothly and the worker has a good chance of being approved and maximizing their benefits.