In most Florida workers compensation claims, injured workers have two (2) years from the date of accident to file a Petition for Benefits. However, this two year limitation can be extended one (1) year everytime an injured worker receives a medical or indemnity benefit from the workers compensation insurance company. Therefore, it is extremely important to see your workers compensation physician or receive some workers compensation benefits every year. I recommend that you see your authorized treating physician at least once every six months. In our office, we diary every case to remind our clients not to miss their Statute of Limitations.
Please note that there are several ways to prevent the Statute of Limitations from running out. One option is to file a new Petition for Benefits. If there is a pending Petition for Benefits, then the Statute of Limitations is tolled (stopped). Another option is to get back to your authorized treating physician, get a prescription filled, or receive any other type of benefits which will save your case for another year. If you missed your time period, it is possible that the adjuster or insurance company will not realize it and reauthorize the treatment. Additionally, if a Petition for Benefits is filled, the insurance company must file their initial Response to the Petition for Benefits indicating that the Statute of Limitations has run out. If the insurance company does not file the Response correctly, then the case can be reopened.
The Employer and insurance company must notify the injured worker of the Statute of Limitations prior to it running out. Therefore, if the Employer or insurance company did not send the injured worker a letter or brochure advising them of their rights, then the Employer and insurance company will not be allowed to asert this defense. It is not uncommon for injured workers to come to my office five to ten years after their accident and for them to still have a viable claim.
If you have questions about whether you can still file a workers compensation claim, please do not hesitate to contact Attorney Lyle B. Masnikoff at 1-561-598-7120.