How Important is the Statute of Limitations to My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

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  2. How Important is the Statute of Limitations to My Workers’ Compensation Claim?
How Important is the Statute of Limitations to My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Oklahoma law places time limitations on when injured workers can file a Workers’ Compensation claim. But these time guidelines do not only apply to filing your initial claim. OK Title 85A Administrative Workers’ Compensation System §85A-69 Statute of Limitations outlines several timelines claimants and respondents must follow to make sure claims are handled in a timely fashion.

Failure to adhere to these timelines for any reason could invalidate your claim and result in its dismissal. The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC in Tulsa helps injured workers pursue claims and handle the details of getting the benefits they deserve. But you also have a part to play in the process. Following the established guidelines for treatment, reporting, and filing keeps your claim on track and the benefits flowing.

Basic Statute of Limitations Provisions in Oklahoma

Workers’ Compensation law in Oklahoma specifies when claims for benefits must be filed and other related timeframes for reporting treatment or other matters.

  1. A claim for compensation for injury must be filed within one year of the date of injury.
  2. Certain illnesses or exposures to work-related hazards have other reporting time deadlines.
  3. A claim for compensation on account of death must be filed within two years of the date of the worker’s death.
  4. A claim must be filed within six months following the date of the last authorized medical treatment but no more than one year from the date of injury. Failure to file such a claim allows the employer to submit a motion for dismissal of the claim.

What Can Happen If I Fail to Meet the Statute of Limitations?

Failing to meet the statute of limitations for filing an initial claim may see that claim rejected when it is eventually filed. Forsaking the time limitations for reporting after receiving medical treatment can also potentially see your claim dismissed with prejudice. This means it is a final judgment that is not subject to appeal.

Here’s an example of how this can cause complications and possible disruptions of your Workers’ Compensation benefits.

A worker becomes injured on the job and files a claim for benefits through their employer. They begin receiving Workers’ Compensation benefits and see a physician for treatment. More than six months pass without a report filed concerning the worker’s medical treatment or progress. Under Oklahoma Title 85A Statutes §69(4), the employer may now file a motion to dismiss the claim with the Workers’ Compensation Commission.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court recently addressed a similar case with this statute in view:  SCHLUMBERGER TECHNOLOGY CORP. v. PAREDES, 2023 OK 42, 528 P.3d 772. In that case, the Respondent admitted the claim and provided medical treatment for approximately two months following the date of loss. The Claimant did not file a claim with the Commission until 10 months after the DOL and more than six months from the date of the last medical treatment. After filing this claim, the Respondent denied the claim, arguing that it was time-barred under Section 69(4) for failure to file within six months of the date of the last authorized medical treatment.

In this particular case, the trial judge and the Commission found the claim was not time-barred, and the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, where it was affirmed.

Get Timely Help with Your Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Claim

The skilled and experienced team at The Armstrong Law Firm, PLC, can help you file and pursue a Workers’ Compensation claim in Oklahoma when you’ve been injured at work. But even they cannot handle some of the details. You must keep your medical appointments and communicate with your legal team so they can make sure you meet the appropriate deadlines for continuing benefits.

Do you have questions about an Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation claim? Time factors are at work so don’t put off getting the answers and guidance you need. Contact us in Tulsa at (918) 582-2500 to connect with a seasoned OK Workers’ Compensation Attorney who can help.


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