Indiana Worker’s Compensation Statute of Limitations
Nothing can sink a good worker’s compensation case faster than missing the statute of limitations. A “statute of limitations” is a law that basically says if you don’t file a claim or a lawsuit within a stated deadline, then your claim or lawsuit is forever barred. So, what is the statute of limitations in Indiana Worker’s Compensation claims?
If you sustain a work injury, and there is a legal dispute regarding any benefits you may be entitled to (or if the worker’s comp insurance company won’t return your calls), you must file an Application for Adjustment of Claim with the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board within two (2) years of the injury. An Application for Adjustment of Claim is like filing a lawsuit in court; only in Indiana, the Worker’s Compensation Board resolves legal disputes and employs its own judges. The Application for Adjustment of Claim looks like this:
Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board Form: Application for Adjustment of Claim
If you are handling your own worker’s compensation claim without an attorney (not a good idea, but it’s allowed!), a link to a fillable form can be found on the Indiana Worker’s Compensation Board’s website here.
Is the Statute of Limitations for Indiana Worker’s Compensation Claims Always Two Years?
No. There are numerous exceptions that extend the deadline beyond two years, but are you prepared to know the exceptions and/or leave it to chance? At Hewins Law Firm, we know when the deadline can be extended, but we still file nearly all Applications within the original two year deadline. That way, there’s no concern whatsoever.
One Other Important Deadline
There is another very important deadline in addition to the statute of limitations. If you are injured on the job, you need to make sure your employer has actual notice of the injury within 30 days. Otherwise, the employer will be granted certain legal defenses under the law that are difficult to overcome. With many injuries, this is not an issue. Your employer finds out about the injury immediately and sends you straight to a doctor, a claim is opened, and you are contacted by an insurance company.
However, if you don’t hear from anyone about your injury within a few days, this is cause for concern. Your employer may be unscrupulous and trying to trick you into not reporting a claim on time, or they may simply not know about the injury. If you sustain an injury and there is any doubt as to whether your employer knows about it, report it in writing as soon as you possibly can. This writing should be something like an e-mail or a text message, where you can later prove to a worker’s compensation judge that you provided notice of an unknown injury within 30 days. This ensures that you won’t miss the 30-day deadline and keeps your case from going stale.
In Indiana worker’s compensation claims, missing the statute of limitations deadline can be devastating. If you follow the rule of thumb about filing a claim within two years of your injury no matter what, you can’t go wrong. If you have any questions about the statute of limitations in your worker’s compensation case, give Hewins Law Firm a call. The initial consultation is always free.