Illinois Lawyer Referrals and Legal Guidance
Statute of Limitations for Illinois Workers' Compensation Claims
Findgreatlawyers.com is a free service, run by Illinois workers' compensation lawyers, that provides legal guidance and lawyer referrals for any matter including Illinois workers' compensation claims. For more information about our service, please visit our how it works page. If you have general questions or would like a referral to an attorney that will be a strong advocate for you, please call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you. All calls and e-mails are confidential. For more information about time limits to file in an Illinois workers' compensation claim, please read on.
The statute of limitations is the time limit that you have in which to file a case. If you fail to file in time then your case will be barred forever even if it is a good case on the merits. To formally file a work injury claim and avoid a problem with the statute of limitations you have to file an application for adjustment of claim. An insurance company or employer does not file this for you. An attorney usually prepares this paperwork and files it at the Illinois Workers Compensation Commission.
Unlike personal injury or medical malpractice cases that usually have pretty specific time limits before it is too late to file a claim, Illinois Workers Compensation claims aren't as straight forward. Numerous people have thought that it was too late for them to file a claim when in fact there was still time. The law in Illinois is that you must file within three years from your accident date or two years from the last payment of compensation related to your claim, whichever is later.
If you have a specific incident occur to you, in order to be safe, while we recommend you formally file right away, you will have at least three years from the accident date to file. In other words, if you were hurt lifting a box on July 1, 2006, you can file any time before July 1, 2009 and not worry about losing your rights.
If you have a repetitive trauma injury like carpal tunnel, where you can't pinpoint a specific accident date, you have three years from the date you knew or should have known that your injury was work related. This is often the date you get your diagnosis or a doctor tells you that it is work related. However, there have been numerous cases where savvy Illinois workers compensation defense lawyers have won their case through a statute of limitations defense by getting the injured worker to admit that they suspected the injury was work related. Their failure to file within three years from the date they suspected the injury was work related ultimately barred their claim.
So if you are more than three years from the date of your accident and you haven't filed an application for adjustment of claim then all is lost? No, you can still file a case that won't get dismissed if you have received "compensation" within the two years prior to the filing date. Compensation can include payment of temporary total disability benefits, payment of medical benefits for the work injury and even short term disability payments or group insurance payments made because of the work injury as long as the employer somehow contributed to those payments.
If it sounds confusing, you are not alone. There are a lot of confusing and vague Illinois workers compensation laws. As a result, when we recommend an Illinois workers compensation attorney, we only recommend someone who day in and day out almost exclusively handles Illinois work injury claims. This way you will know that the attorney you hire is well versed in the law, experienced and won't have to "cut their teeth" on your case. If you would like a referral to an Illinois workers' compensation attorney please call us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614 or fill out our contact us form and we will contact you.