Michelle works as a receptionist in a busy medical practice in Saratoga Springs, NY. Her job involves typing, writing and answering telephones almost her entire 8 hour workday.
For three years she has noticed numbness and tingling in her wrists and hands. About one year ago she went to her doctor and was told that she could have carpal tunnel syndrome and that it was related to her work activities. Michelle has not yet missed time from work because of the condition but believes that she may need surgery.
Although she does not realize it, Michelle is in the danger zone with regard to her Workers’ Compensation claim. In fact, she has not reported her claim to her employer within 30 days of her becoming aware that her carpal tunnel was work related. This can be problematic but it is possible for a Judge to excuse her late filing.
However, if Michelle fails to file a formal claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board, by submitting form C-3 within two years of her being told by her physician that her carpal tunnel was work related, her claim will likely be dismissed by a Law Judge.
The Workers’ Compensation Law requires that notice by given to one’s employer within 30 days of an accident or 30 days after they have reason to think a medical condition is related to work activities. The Law further requires that a formal claim be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 2 years after the date of injury or after the individual had reason to believe their condition was connected to their occupational duties.
The moral of the story is if and when a work injury or condition develops, it is vitally important that proper notice and formal claim be filed within the statutory time frames. Otherwise, all claims for lost wages, permanency, and medical expenses may be lost.