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Late with your claim? Too bad, so sad, says New Jersey

In the legal system, there are many deadlines. Some are known as jurisdictional deadlines. What this means is that if you fail to meet the deadline for whatever reason, your claim is dead. Forever. Workers' compensation insurance has similar deadlines. In New Jersey, you have 90 days after the occurrence of an injury to file a workers' compensation claim and provide notice to your employer.

A recent case points of the peril of delaying making a claim. A man worked for Continental Airlines and tripped in the galley of one of their aircraft. The plane was in Ecuador at the time of the accident, and he did not want to seek medical attention there, so he waited. 

But he did not report the injury or seek treatment at Continental's Newark clinic. He had a planned leave to care for his mother scheduled. During the leave, he felt pain, but it was six months before he saw a doctor at Continental's clinic.

He was sent home with ibuprofen. He then saw a neurologist who found a herniated disc in his spine. It was only at that point that he filed a workers' compensation claim.

The claim was denied for being made beyond the 90-day deadline. And his claim was denied through all of his appeals for being untimely. The appellate court noted that he was aware of the injury the moment he fell.

If you have fallen, been struck, or suffered any other potential source of injury, do not wait. Report it immediately. Even if you think it is "nothing," report it. This begins the process and creates the record. As this case show, failure to do so will cost you your claim. 

Source: Workerscompensation.com, "DELAYS DOOM CONTINENTAL EMPLOYEE’S WORKERS’ COMP CLAIM," National Workers Compensation Defense Network (NWCDN), November 13, 2013

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