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How Long Do I Have to Claim Work-Related Injuries in New Jersey?

Table of Contents

There are time frames associated with a formal claim for work-related injuries in New Jersey. Traumatic injury: two years from the date of the injury or from the receipt of a compensation benefit. Occupational claim: two years from the date you discovered the illness and the relation of the illness to your employment.

Statute of Limitations code on Judges bench ready for application to case

Understanding the New Jersey Workers' Compensation Act

In New Jersey’s workers’ compensation system, time is a crucial factor that both employers and employees must be mindful of. The statute of limitations, a fundamental legal concept, sets a specific time limit for filing workers’ compensation claims. The time limit depends on the type of injury alleged by the worker:

  • Traumatic Injury:  Traumatic injuries generally occur on a specific date and time. A claim petition must be filed two years from the date of the workplace injury or last compensation payment under the workers compensation laws of New Jersey.

 

  • Occupational Claim: Occupational claims generally arise over the course of time. There is also a two-year time limit, but the start of the time limit begins on the date of discovery. Discovery of the illness and that the illness is related to your employment.

 

This two-year time constraint serves a vital function in safeguarding the rights of both employers and employees. The Workers’ Compensation Act in New Jersey establishes a safety net for workers who suffer injuries or illnesses while on the job. It ensures that employees are entitled to certain benefits, such as medical treatment and wage replacement, in the event of a workplace accident or occupational illness.

The Role of the Statute of Limitations in
NJ Workman’s Comp

The statute of limitations is like a ticking clock that starts counting from the moment an injury occurs, or an occupational illness is discovered. In this context, it sets a two-year timeframe within which an injured worker must file a formal claim petition to access workers’ compensation benefits. The clock is equally significant for employers, providing them with a clear time boundary within which claims can be made.

Function for the Employee

For employees, the statute of limitations is a critical reminder to act promptly after sustaining an injury or discovering an occupational illness. Filing a claim within the two-year period is essential to protect their rights and access the benefits they are entitled to under the law. Acting promptly ensures that evidence is fresh, making it easier to prove that the injury or illness is work-related.

Function for the Employer

The statute of limitations also serves as a protective measure for employers. It sets a reasonable timeframe for employees to file their claims, preventing delayed claims that might involve events unrelated to the workplace or injuries that occurred outside of work. By imposing this time limit, employers can better manage their liabilities and anticipate potential claims within a specific timeframe.

Sand of time limits the filing of an NJ work injury claim

How Do I Know When the Statute of Limitations
Begins to Run in NJ Workers Comp?

The best answer to that question is to look at some examples.

Example 1: The Importance of Acting Promptly

Meet John, a construction worker who injured his back while lifting heavy materials on the job. The accident occurred on January 1, 2023. John is unsure about filing a workers’ compensation claim, hoping the pain will subside on its own. Unfortunately, as months pass, his condition worsens, but he does not receive any medical or wage benefits.  John finally decided to file the claim on January 23, 2025, more than two years after the accident.

Result: Because John missed the two-year deadline, his employer’s insurance company denied his claim, stating it was beyond the statute of limitations. As a result, John probably loses out on receiving the benefits he desperately needs to cover medical expenses and lost wages.

Example 2: Occupational Illness and the Clock

Now let’s meet Sarah, a factory worker exposed to harmful chemicals over the years. She develops severe respiratory issues but doesn’t realize that her job is the cause. On February 1, 2023, Sarah seeks medical attention, and her doctor diagnoses her with a work-related illness.

Result: Even though Sarah left her job two years before her diagnosis, the statute of limitations for her workers’ compensation claim starts on February 1, 2023. She has until February 1, 2025, to file her claim, giving her the opportunity to access the necessary benefits for her treatment and recovery.

Example 3: Filing a Formal Claim Petition

Now, let’s follow Mark, a warehouse worker who got injured when a shelf collapsed on August 1, 2023. His employer provided him with medical treatment for his injuries and disability benefits until December 1, 2023. After that, Mark’s employer stops supporting him, and he faces financial difficulties due to mounting medical bills.

Result: Mark has until December 1, 2025, to file his formal claim petition, which would give him the chance to seek continued medical treatment and disability benefits.  The date of the accident is not the key date for the statute of limitations to begin.  Rather, the date of the last payment of compensation received under New Jersey Workers’ Compensation law begins to run the clock for the statute of limitations.  

Infographic Summary of Article

Guidelines for both employer and employee on the statute of limitations of workers compensation in New Jersey

"There is an old and somewhat foolish saying that "Hard cases make bad law," and therefore the law must be left as it is. It would be equally true to say, "Bad law makes hard cases," and therefore the law must be ammended. The real truth lies somewhere between. Mere freaks of fortune should not be made an excuse for weakening a law which is sound. But a law which is seen to multiply hard cases...is not worth preserving for the law was made for man, not man for the law."

The Role of a New Jersey Workers' Comp Attorney

Understanding the two-year statute of limitations is crucial for anyone dealing with a workers’ compensation claim in New Jersey. Act promptly, file your claim within the allotted time, and protect your rights. Workers’ compensation is designed to support you in times of need, and with the right knowledge and assistance, you can access the benefits you need to recover and move forward.

Navigating the workers’ compensation process can be challenging, especially when dealing with time limits. If you encounter difficulties or uncertainties, it’s wise to seek advice from a knowledgeable attorney, such as John F. Renner, a New Jersey work accident attorney. He has the knowledge and experience to build a strong case on your behalf and ensure you receive the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call his office now at (856) 596-8000 to discuss your options. We have your back.

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About the Author

John F. Renner is the founding attorney and principal of John F. Renner P.C. He has more than 25 years of experience representing injured workers in New Jersey. Mr. Renner guides his clients through the complex maze of New Jersey Workers Compensation Law for the best possible outcome.

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