Is It Too Late to File for Workers’ Compensation? Understanding the Georgia Statute of Limitations

Injured workers fail to file claims for a variety of reasons, but not doing so could be extremely detrimental in the future. If you have been injured while performing your job, it is important to speak with a workers’ compensation attorney as soon as possible. There are many workers in Atlanta who fail to receive workers’ compensation because they did not file a claim within the allotted time period set forth by the Georgia statute of limitations.

The amount of time anyone has to file something, from a police report to a lawsuit, is governed by a statute of limitations (SOL).  The law for Georgia workers’ compensation has two separate statutes of limitations in play: the all issues SOL and the change in condition SOL.

All Issues Statute of Limitations and Workers’ Compensation

After an injury as first taken place, the all issues statute of limitations dictates how much time the injured worker has to file a claim. However, if the employer is paying weekly income benefits, the all issues statute does not apply. The all issues statute still applies if employers are providing medical treatment as long as they are not paying income benefits. 

The following four important time frames set forth by the statute of limitations.

  • One Year From Date of Injury. Injured workers must file a claim within one year of being injured. It is important to note, the clock starts ticking only when the injury manifests itself, not the date of the accident.
  • One Year From Last Medical Treatment Paid by the Employer. If an injured worker is receiving medical treatment from the employer, the statute renews for one year with every visit to the doctor for treatment.
  • Two Years From Last Weekly Income Benefits. With each payment of weekly income benefits received, the statute restarts. Once an employee stops receiving weekly income benefits from their employer, they have two years from the date of the final payment.
  • One Year from Date of Becoming Aware of Disease. Workers who contract occupational diseases have one year to file a claim from the time they became aware of their disease. However, the worker has a maximum of seven years from the time they were last exposed to the material to file a claim. When symptoms manifest only after a period of more than seven years after exposure, a claim cannot be filed.

Best practices for workers regarding accidents and injuries on the job is to always report them immediately. Waiting longer than 30 days to report an accident may result in loss of benefits.

Change of Condition Statute of Limitations

According to Georgia code §34-9-104 a change of conditions is defined as “a change in the wage-earning capacity, physical condition, or status of an employee or other beneficiary covered by this chapter, which change must have occurred after the date on which the wage-earning capacity, physical condition or status of the employee or other beneficiary was last established by award or otherwise.”

When a “change of condition” occurs, the injured worker is given another two years from the date of the last income benefit payment or an additional four years from the date of the last PPD payment to file a claim reporting the change in condition.

Consult an Attorney

Understanding your rights as an injured worker regarding workers’ compensation can be extremely difficult. Find out what legal options you have and get help filing a claim by speaking with an Atlanta workers’ compensation lawyer. If you or a loved one has been injured on-the-job, call Workers Compensation Lawyers at 678-504-6565 for a free consultation and to get the compensation you deserve.