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Workers’ Compensation Statute of Limitations

When a worker is injured in Chicago, they can seek compensation with a workers’ compensation claim. Filing a claim, however, must be done within the timeframe specified by the Illinois statute of limitations set forth in the act governing workers’ compensation. The statute of limitations specifies exactly how much time an injured worker has to file a claim. Not filing a claim within this period is a common reason for having a claim denied.

Chicago workers who have been injured primarily need to pay attention to two different time limits. 

Statute of Limitations for Illinois Workers’ Compensation

Generally, claims must be filed within three years of the injury or disablement from an occupational disease, or within two years of the last workers’ compensation payment, whichever is later. Claims for pneumoconiosis, radiological exposure, asbestosis, or similar diseases have special requirements. Injured workers have the right to reopen their case within 30 months after an award is made if the disability increases, but cases that are resolved by a lump-sum settlement contract approved by the Commission cannot be reopened. Only settlements approved by the Commission are binding.

There are two potential statute of limitations dates that apply to most workers’ compensation cases in Illinois.

  1. After an work accident, the injured worker must file a claim within three years of the incident or the date in which they became aware of the injury.
  2. In the event the injured worker was receiving benefits, they must file within two years of receiving their last benefit payment.

Exceptions to Standard Statute of Limitations

Although most injuries in Illinois follow the standard statute of limitations, certain work-related injuries fall outside the normal three year deadline. This includes:

  • Asbestos-related injuries – Workers have 25 years after the last exposure to file a claim for health issues related to asbestos, including mesothelioma or asbestosis.
  • Radiation exposure – The injured worker has up to 25 years after the last date of exposure.
  • Pneumoconiosis – A claim may be filed up to 5 years after the last date of exposure.
  • Diseases caused by inhalation of silica dust – A claim must be filed 3 years after the last exposure.

The best practice for any employee is to report an accident as soon as possible. This avoids any issues regarding the designated time periods.

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