There are two important time frames that you have to keep in mind when you experience a work injury. The first is NOTICE and the second is the STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS. Notice is a concept in workers compensation law that requires you to report your injury and accident to your employer as soon as practicable after your accident.
When you have any type of personal injury claim, there is also a law called a Statute of Limitations (commonly referred to as an SOL) that limits the amount of time you have to file a claim. In Nebraska, the statute of limitations is: two years from the date of the injury, or when payments of compensation have been made, two years from the time of the making of the last payment.
This means, that from two years after your date of injury or two years after the last date of a payment on your claim, you must file a lawsuit. Your lawsuit doesn’t necessarily need to be resolved by that date, it simply must be filed in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court. If this date has passed, you will be unable to bring a claim.
There are some limited exceptions, one being the discovery rule exception. Under Nebraska law, our courts use the discovery rule, which means that your statutory period of two years runs from the date you knew or should have known about your injury.
For most work injuries, like, for example, a back injury while loading boxes, the injured worker knows immediately that they have been hurt. There are some cases, particularly those involving internal injuries, or diseases, where the victim does not discover that they have an injury until later.
One prime example of this is the development of cancer from occupational hazards such as exposure to chemicals. Mesothelioma often does not develop until thirty to fifty years after its exposure. In these cases, the discovery rule would be applied to the claim, so that the statutory period of two years would run from the date the patient learned of their illness.
If the employer fails, neglects or refuses to file a First Report of Injury, the statute of limitations is tolled until the report is furnished to the Court. §48-144.04.
In the event of legal disability of an injured employee or his or her dependent such limitation shall not take effect until the expiration of two years from the time of removal of such legal disability.
If you are concerned about the statute of limitations of your case, please contact us today for a free consultation