The general rule is that claims for Workers’ Compensation benefits must be filed within two years. The question is “When does the two year period begin?” In the case of a back injury from lifting a box, the two-year period begins to run at the time of the accident. In occupational disease cases, however, the illness can develop slowly over many years.
The worker may have already contracted the disease, yet may not have symptoms. The worker may have symptoms, but may not know the cause of the symptoms. The workers may have symptoms, yet continue to go to work and perform his/her duties, even though he/she is in pain. The worker may miss time from work, yet not know his/her work caused the disease. Which of these events starts the two-year period?
The answer is that the Workers’ Compensation Board sets a “date of disablement.” The date of disablement is a legal term, which the law says will be treated as the date of accident (even though the worker; did not really have an accident). If the worker did not file the claim for Workers’ Compensation benefits within two years of the date of disablement, the claim will be barred, unless the worker can find a way around the two year rule, such as by proving that the employer made an advance payment of compensation, or by showing that the employer’s Legal Representative failed to argue that the claim was filed too late at the first hearing where all the parties were present.
There are several possible dates that the Workers’ Compensation Board may use a date of disablement. The Workers’ Compensation Board may set the date of disablement as the date the person first began to miss time for work, the date the person first began to treat with a doctor for the work-related illness, or the date the person first knew the illness was related to the work. The Legal Representative for the injured worker is concerned with establishing a date of disablement that will satisfy the two-year rule. The Legal Representative for the employer argue for a date of disablement that will result in the claim being denied based on the two year rule, or which will make another employer (or its insurance carrier) responsible for the injury. We argue that the Board should not set a date of disablement that will result in an injustice to the worker. To be safe, when a worker knows that he/she has suffered an illness or injury as a result of his/her work, he/she should file a C-3 form immediately (or contact a NYS Licensed Representative, and have file a C-3 form immediately). (Special rules apply to occupational hearing loss claims).
If you choose to accept Workers’ Compensation Benefits you can not sue your employer.
However . . . If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident with another car you might be able to file a lawsuit with the driver of the other car.
We frequently represent Workers' Compensation cases in Long Island New York (NY) including, Albertson, Bethpage, Dix Hills, Elmwood,Huntington, Huntington Station, Levittown, Westbury, South Huntington, Hicksville, Bayville, Glenncove, Merrick, Bellmore, Syossett, Jericho, Plainview, Roslyn, Roslyn Heights, Deer Park, Glenn Head, New Hyde Park, Manhasset, Farmingdale, Hauppague, Patchague, Deer Park, east Meadow, Mellville. In Queens we often help people in Flushing, Jamaica, Douglaston, Long Island City