In a Florida Workers Compensation claim, the Statute of Limitations is a provision that limits the time that an injured employee may bring a claim. What this basically means is that an injured employee has two (2) years from the date that the accident took place to pursue a Workers Compensation claim, otherwise the claim is forever barred and can no longer be brought by the employee.
The Statute of Limitations in Workers Compensation is governed by Florida Statutes section 440.19. According to the Statute, the two year time period does not begin to run until the injured worker, as a reasonable person, knew or should have recognized the nature, seriousness, and probable compensable character of his or her disease or injury. If a claim has been accepted as compensable by the Employer/Carrier, an injured employee may keep his or her case open for the rest of their life as long as he or she treats with an authorized Workers Compensation physician at least one time each year. Therefore, a claim can in theory remain open for the entire life of an injured worker.
There are certain exceptions to the Statute of Limitations. One exception is if an injured employee is a minor or mentally incompetent. For example, if the employee was under the age of 18 when the accident occurred, the Statute of Limitations may not apply. Another exception is if the Employer lied or misled an injured employee. This may occur if an Employer falsely tells an injured employee that an accident that occurred while the employee was on his or her lunch break is not covered by Workers Compensation. Further, an exception to the Statute of Limitations may apply if an Employer does not inform an injured worker of his or her right to pursue a Workers Compensation claim. This generally occurs if an informational packet enclosed with information about the Workers Compensation process is not provided to an employee that has reported an accident which resulted in an injury to the Employer.
The Statute of Limitations is a very complex aspect of the Florida Workers Compensation law. That is why it is important to hire a workers compensation attorney who handles these types of situations. If you were injured on the job or know of someone who was, have them give us a call at (844) 762-8155.