Charles is a 45-year-old plumber who resides in Chatham, NY. Charles has worked as a plumber for 15 years using his hands, everyday, all day, to work with pipes. Charles is a union worker who makes a high wage.
For the last 5 years Charles has noticed numbness and tingling in his hands and wrists. He has not treated with a doctor but he is working and he feels that he should get checked out.
Charles goes to his primary care physician who gives him a referral to an orthopedic doctor. The orthopedic doctor tells him that he has carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and that it was caused by the claimant’s repetitive use of his hands as a plumber.
Charles has been told by some co-workers that the statue of limitations on a workers’ compensation claim is two years. Charles wonders whether or not it is too late to file a claim with his employer for carpal tunnel syndrome since he has had these symptoms for more than five years.
Charles consults with an experience Workers’ Compensation attorney and is advised that he actually has two years from the time he first treats with a doctor and becomes aware that his medical condition is caused by work to file his claim. The two years does not necessarily begin running from the date he first has symptoms. As such, Charles was only recently advised that his condition was work related and therefore can still file his Workers’ Compensation claim as he is well within the two year statute of limitations.
It is important that Charles provide written notice to his employer that he is making the claim for work connected carpal tunnel syndrome. Written notice is different from formal claim filing.
The moral of the story is that all sorts of inaccurate legal information is floating around the work place. The only way to understand your legal rights and responsibilities is to take the time to consult with an attorney who practices in this area of law.