Mark Twain once said, “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.” All too often, Twain’s humorous quip is actually emulated by New Jersey workers who suffer – yet ignore – WEAR and TEAR injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or chronic back pain.
The worker may think, “This condition didn’t develop overnight; it doesn’t have to be dealt with today.” Unfortunately, for some workers, the “todays” begin to add up and, if the worker isn’t careful, at some point it can be too late to pursue a claim.
There are at least three reasons why a worker should not postpone the resolution of his or her WEAR and TEAR injury.
Reason One: At Some Point, Recovery for a WEAR and TEAR Injury is Barred by the Statute of Limitations
Generally speaking, a New Jersey worker must file his or her injury claim within two years of the
- Date of accident/injury
- Last date of authorized medical treatment, or last date of workers’ compensation benefits paid, whichever date is later
For occupational diseases and WEAR and TEAR injuries, it isn’t medically possible to determine the date of injury; the condition developed so gradually. In these sorts of claims, the worker generally has two years from the date when the worker knew or should have known that the medical condition was related to the employment.
For example, if a physician tells the worker that he or she has carpal tunnel syndrome and that it could have developed over years due to the repetitive nature of the workers’ employment duties, the limitations clock begins “to tick.” If the worker waits more than two years after hearing that word from the physician, the claim is barred. It makes no difference how strong the evidence is tying the condition to the workplace. The lesson: Don’t procrastinate; the clock may be ticking.
Reason Two: Until You Aggressively Pursue Your Claim, You Can’t Get Better
The other reason why New Jersey workers should not procrastinate in seeking recovery for WEAR and TEAR injuries is a simple, but important, medical fact: You can’t get better until you face the situation and get appropriate medical assistance. Many chronic conditions, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or chronic back pain, don’t get better without treatment. Even if you have great health insurance that may pay for medical treatment down the road, that health insurance won’t provide any benefit for lost wages. Lost wages and income from being out of work during the recovery can only be recovered through a workers’ compensation claim.
Reason Three: Employment Plays an Important Role in Pursuing Your Claim
One other reason why it is important to act promptly on your WEAR and TEAR injury is its correlation to your employment. Generally, the longer you wait to pursue a claim, the less likely it is that the case will be deemed compensable. Although you can still file a WEAR and TEAR injury claim even if you are no longer working at the job that caused the injury, it becomes harder to point to your employment as the cause if you have not worked in that job for a while.
WEAR and TEAR Injury: They Are Often Compensable in New Jersey
Virtually every day, some insurance adjuster tells a New Jersey worker that WEAR and TEAR injuries – those that develop over time – are not compensable. The adjuster may say, “Workers’ comp doesn’t cover for the aging process.” He or she may also quip, “Workers’ comp doesn’t pay for preexisting conditions.”
The truth is that almost any medical condition can be considered compensable under the workers’ compensation law, if a judge determines that your work exposure was a material contributing factor to either the “causation, aggravation, acceleration and/or exacerbation” of the medical condition in question.
Get Expert Legal Help if You Have Suffered a WEAR and TEAR Injury
Have you suffered a work-related injury? Has a physician told you that you have a condition that might be associated with your employment? Has an insurance agent told you that your chronic condition isn’t compensable because it’s associated with aging or due to some pre-existing condition? If so, you likely need the services of a skilled workers’ compensation attorney. You deserve representation by a firm that has achieved success with WEAR and TEAR injuries. Remember, however, that the passage of time can be fatal to your claim.
At Petro Cohen, P.C., we have helped many hard-working folks just like you. Call or contact us for a free consultation. Talk to an experienced lawyer who can help you sort out your rights. We can be reached by phone at 888-675-7607, or you can complete our online form. We look forward to discussing your situation with you.