Pennsylvania Workers' Comp Statute of Limitations
A critical time line under the workers' compensation law is the Statute of Limitations. The statute of limitations refers to the length of time in which an injured worker must formally file a workers' compensation claim. In Pennsylvania, the time limit is three years from the date of injury. Consequently, where a work place injury has occurred and the worker has been denied either medical benefits or wage loss benefits under the workers' compensation law, a Claim Petition must be filed within three years of the date of injury. If a Claim Petition is not filed within that time, the claim will be forever barred.
Other time limitations under Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation
Assuming the worker has satisfied the time limit with regard to giving notice and satisfied the time limit with regard to the statute of limitations, there are a variety of other time limits that apply under the law. For example, if an employer has a valid panel of physicians designated for the treatment of work place injuries, an injured worker will be required to treat with a member of that list of physicians for the first 90 days. There are also other, specific, time limits that apply to specific types of injury claims. For example, for a loss of use of hearing from the long-term exposure to hazardous noise, a claim must be brought within 3 years of the last exposure to hazardous noise. On the other hand, with regard to an occupational disease contracted from exposure to a work place hazard or toxin, disability (lost wages) must occur as a result of the occupational disease within 300 weeks (approximately 6 years) of the last exposure to the hazardous toxin.
Exceptions to Notice
As with the law pertaining to the time to give notice, there are certain exceptions that apply to the three-year statute of limitations. Consequently, if there have been actual payments of compensation benefits, or similar payment "made in lieu of compensation" then an injured worker has three years following the last payment within which to formally file a claim. Similarly, the three-year statute of limitations may be tolled if the employer has made payments on medical expenses to treat a work injury so long as the payments were made with the intention that they satisfy an employer's obligation under the workers' compensation law. The time limitation may also be extended by certain specific actions of an employer (or its workers' compensation insurance carrier) which deceive an injured worker into thinking a claim has been accepted; or with regard to certain types of injuries in which the nature of the injury or its relationship to the employment is not known, the time for filing a claim will not begin to run until the employee knows or through the exercise of reasonable diligence should have known of both the existence of the injury and its possible relationship to the work or work place.
Contact the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia workers' compensation attorneys at Caroselli, Beachler, McTiernan & Coleman, L.L.C., by calling us at 412-567-1232 in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania, 215-792-6153 in Philadelphia or Eastern Pennsylvania or toll free at 866-466-5789. You may also complete our online contact form. Initial consultations are free and confidential.
For your convenience, we are available to come to your home, hospital or union hall to talk with you and your family about your rights under the Pennsylvania Workers' Compensation Laws.