Under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law, employees that are injured on the job or as a result of work-related activity are eligible to receive compensation for medical expenses and a portion of their lost wages while they recover. However, it is important to understand the statute of limitations for claiming a work injury in South Jersey. The statute of limitations refers to the time period after which a legal claim can no longer be made. In general, the statute of limitations for work injury in South Jersey is two years and begins on the date the disability or injury is discovered or incurred.
Unlike cases that stem from workplace accidents or injuries, workers suffering from work–related diseases or illnesses typically have a longer time to file a claim before time runs out. This is because these illnesses can sometimes not become apparent for months, years, or even decades after the cause. Courts have ruled that in these cases, the “nature of the occupational disability and its relationship to employment” must be known by the worker two years prior to the claim in order to see the statute of limitations run out. This statement has been subject to some varying interpretations, and has been the cause of many appeals.
Interpreting the Statute of Limitations
New Jersey courts have ruled that a worker must be reasonably aware that the illness or disease he or she has suffered was caused by workplace conditions for two years before the statute of limitations will run out on their case. In one recent case, courts ruled in favor of a man who filed his Workers’ Compensation claim two years after leaving work, citing significant long-term back pain resulting from his former work activities.
The victim secured a physician’s report stating that the pain was due to work activity two years prior, while the employer’s legal representation stated that the statute of limitations on workplace injury meant the case was no longer viable. However, because the pain was not diagnosed as having been related to the work the victim had performed until just before the court case, the court ruled that he was entitled to compensation. The decision was based on the premise that the statute of limitations would have begun on the date the injury was determined to be workplace related. Although the victim was certainly aware of the chronic back pain before the diagnosis, the injury was not attributed to his work until he visited a doctor to receive treatment.
The takeaway from this case is that workers suffering from a long-term injury or illness may still be entitled to Workers’ Compensation benefits regardless of how long ago the injury or illness began. This is true only if the injured party did not know that the injury or illness was work-related for more than two years before filing a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Cherry Hill Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at DiTomaso Law Help Injured Workers Claim Compensation
If you have been the victim of a work injury, our experienced team of South Jersey Workers’ Compensation lawyers at DiTomaso Law can help. Serving clients across South Jersey and Philadelphia, we are committed to providing the highest quality representation to secure just compensation for those suffering injuries or illness caused by work activity. If you have questions about a Workers’ Compensation claim, call 856-414-0010 or contact us online today.