In Illinois, there is a concept known as a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations prescribes the time frame that limits when an injured worker is allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim against his employer. This is not the only time frame that might act to bar a worker’s ability to file a claim. A worker must also notify his employer that the worker was injured on the job within a certain time frame. If a workers’ compensation claim is filed after the statute of limitations expires, or no notice of injury is provided to the employer within the time set forth in the Act, the worker will likely waive his right to receive any benefits, and his claim will be forever barred.
In general, the injured worker must notify his employer of the accident within 45 days.
The injured worker is also required to file a claim before one of these two deadlines, whichever is later:
- Within three years after an on-the-job injury, death or disablement, or
- Within two years of the last payment of a medical bill or TTD benefit.
Some cases have different deadlines.
- Asbestos exposure: File within 25 years after the last exposure.
- Death: File within three years of the death, within two years of the date of the last compensation payment under the Workers’ Compensation Act, or within three years of the date of the last compensation payment under the Occupational Diseases Act, whichever is later.
- Occupational disease: In most cases, unless an occupational disease causes a disablement within two years of the date of the last exposure, no compensation is payable.
- Pneumoconiosis: File within five years after the last exposure or last payment.
- Radiation exposure: File within 25 years after the last exposure.
If you have been injured at work, it is very important that you act to protect your rights immediately. Do not wait, or your right to file a claim might be barred forever.