Q: Can I file workers comp for an injury that occurred at work while I was still employed there in February ‘19?
My employer was aware of my injury as it happened in front of him but I did not file a claim at the time. There were multiple witnesses and I did have to go to urgent care due to this injury. I have record of that visit. This injury continued causing problems for the next two years including missing work and requiring further medical assistance.
A: Yes, in some situations. While NC law technically requires filing a workers' compensation claim within thirty (30) days of the accident, the Court will accept claims filed within two (2) years in most situations. The Courts have generally held that claims filed within two (2) years are timely if the employer had actual notice of accident, had no prejudice by the delay, and/or has paid some medical bills or wage replacement. In filings after two (2) years, NC Courts will require that employers have actual notice and/or pay some medical bills or wage replacement to be considered a timely filing. In some extreme cases where the employee has been misled or fraudulently told the claim has been filed or is accepted, the Courts have applied an equitable estoppel to permit filing after two (2) years. Your injury in February 2019 would probably need a showing that one or both of the last two (2) situations apply since you are clearly outside the normal two (2) year requirement for filing. You should file a Form 18 (NC provided form) as soon as possible. You should check on who paid for medical treatment since those payments can re-start the two (2) year time period.
A: You can always file a claim. Whether your claim will be found compensable is the issue. Generally, there is a two year time limit on workers’ compensation claims in North Carolina where the injury is based on an accident. (Occupational diseases have a different time standard). Lawyers call time limits- Statute of Limitations or SOL. It appears that you are past the two year time limit. In some cases, payment of medical treatment by your employer can extend (or toll) the time limit. I recommend that you file your claim immediately, obtain the details of the payment for your medical care and consult with a workers’ compensation specialist. I’m sorry that you are still having problems from your injuries.
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