Injuries and illnesses contracted on the job can bring financial stress, inconvenience, and sometimes permanent disabilities. Even if everything is done to promote safety and wellbeing in the workplace, accidents can still happen, and they can still be severe. At Silverman, McDonald & Friedman, we have skilled workers’ compensation attorneys on hand to help you with your claim and any other questions you may have. We are proud to serve you in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.
Often, the much-needed benefits of workers’ compensation do not kick in automatically, and there are laws that must be followed to prevent your claim from being denied. Depending on your case, there are time limits — or statutes of limitations — to adhere to, and these limits are not something you want to discover the hard way.
Deadlines to know
Here in Delaware, the limitations to be aware of vary depending on your situation and which stage of your claim you’re on. Of course, when grappling with a new injury or illness, this is the last thing you’ll want to keep track of, but it is necessary nonetheless. Companies are notorious for trying to prevent their employees from receiving compensation in any way they can, so you’ll want to make sure all your bases are covered. The good news is these limitations vary for a reason. You may have more time depending on your individual circumstances, and your attorney can help you navigate exactly what this means for you.
As far as time limits go, specifically referring to the steps you take before you submit your claim, here are a few things to know:
- You have 10 days following an injury on the job to notify your employer.
- However, if your injury takes time to make itself known (such as a slipped disk you initially thought was a minor bruise), you have 90 days to notify your employer, giving you time for a doctor to diagnose your injury and trace it to your work-related accident.
- If you have an occupational disease, such as an asbestos-related respiratory illness, you have six months to notify your employer, starting from the date your illness has been tracked back to work.
Now, the actual statute of limitations are a bit different and offer more time, as they refer to the process of submitting your claim after you have notified your employer. For an injury, you have two years from the date of your accident to submit your claim. For an occupational illness, you have one year from the date you discovered it was contracted at work. If, though, your employer knows of your injury or illness and neglects to tell you of these limitations, they will not go into effect until you are informed to help ensure you are treated fairly.
These may all seem like relatively narrow windows, but bear in mind the right attorney is well aware of these limits and knows how to help you work within them. That is why it is of the utmost importance to get started as quickly as possible and make sure you have skilled, experienced representation on your side.
What to do after an accident in the workplace
As previously stated, the most important thing to do after a workplace injury or occupational illness is to get started on your claim as quickly as possible. Aside from informing your employer of the general existence of your injury or illness, you also must notify them if said injury or illness prevents you from working. This makes sure you preserve your right to collect any wages lost as you recover, especially if your case is severe.
Once your employer knows what’s going on, your next immediate step is seeing a doctor. Schedule a visit as soon as possible, and be willing to return for further examinations as needed throughout the claims process. Your doctor, aside from treating you, can help you trace your injury or illness to its source, confirming if it is work-related or merely circumstantial. They can also provide documentation to prove your diagnosis.
An attorney can be there with you from the very first step to help you organize and implement your claim, while also protecting your rights from employers trying to prevent you from getting the full amount of compensation you deserve. Silverman, McDonald & Friedman are here to do just that, with compassionate workers’ compensation attorneys that have your best interests in mind, with offices in Newark, Seaford, and Wilmington. If you are the victim of a workplace injury or occupational illness, call us today at 302-888-2900 or fill out our contact form for further information. Let’s make sure nothing stands in the way of your full recovery.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.