In contrast to your obligation to immediately tell your employer, the entire statute of limitations for Bellevue Workers Compensation claims sets a more exact time schedule. You must meet one of two deadlines, depending on the type of your work-related illness or injury:
You have one year from the day of the accident to file a Workers’ Compensation claim if you:
- Sustain a work-related injury.
- Suppose you become unwell at work (a condition known as an “occupational disease”). In that case, you have two years to file a claim for it after receiving written notification from a physician or trained nurse that you are affected.
Why do workplace illnesses receive more attention than accidents?
The likelihood is that if you have a significant enough workplace injury to consider submitting a Workers’ Compensation claim, you will be aware of it immediately when it occurs or shortly after that.
On the other hand, occupational diseases occasionally do not show symptoms until months or even years after the root issue is discovered. Repetitive stress injuries or prolonged exposure to toxic substances that eventually result in a respiratory illness are two instances of how this postponed effect might occur. Also, take note that hearing loss is treated differently under the 2-year statute of limitations for occupational disorders, which starts on the date of your last contact with whatever is causing it rather than when you are diagnosed with the ailment.
What exactly does “filing a claim” mean?
It used to be normal to file your Workers’ Compensation claim by mail, and at least one Washington court ruling hinged on whether sending the claim completed the “filing” requirements. The DLI now recommends submitting electronically, by phone, or, if your company is self-insured, by going through them directly. It is important to remember that the DLI gets your claim on the date of filing, not the day of filing itself.
Even if you submit electronically, delaying your petition until the very last minute is not a smart idea since, in Washington, courts are not sympathetic to claims that are filed after the necessary statute of limitations has passed. The only circumstance in which you can extend the deadline is if the final day to file falls on a weekend or a state-observed holiday, in which instance the deadline is moved to the following working day. The final step is for you to submit your Workers’ Compensation claim.