No one wants to get injured when they are on the job, but the reality is that work injuries occur regularly in Georgia. The good news is that the workers’ compensation system in this state is a “no-fault” system, which means that employees are entitled to these benefits regardless of which party caused the injury. However, securing compensation against a former employer may complicate the matter. Often, workers in Georgia may not realize they have sustained an injury or illness caused by the workplace until after they have already moved to another employer or retired. This is often the case with occupational illnesses.
Can You File a Workers Compensation Claim After You Quit?
Yes, you are allowed to file a workers’ compensation claim after you have left your job. There are various reasons why a person would need to file a workers’ compensation claim after leaving their job. This includes:
- Sustaining an on the job injury that seemed minor to begin with but later caused problems that required medical treatment. For example, maybe you fell at work and thought you had a minor wrist strain, only to later realize there was a torn ligament.
- You have developed a chronic condition, such as a cumulative motion injury or an occupational disease, that was the result of previous work. For example, suppose your doctor tells you that the tingling and pain in your wrists is due to carpal tunnel syndrome from the repetitive stress of your previous job. Alternatively, you could be told that you have developed a certain type of cancer due to exposure to elements at your previous job.
Time Limit for Filing a Claim for a Chronic Condition in Georgia
In general, it is advised that you report any injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. Injuries or illnesses must be reported within 30 days of the person becoming aware that they have been injured or become ill. After making an initial report, a workers’ compensation claim must be filed within two years from the date the injury or illness was discovered. These same time limits apply to those who have left their job.
However, in the case of chronic or cumulative conditions, the time periods for filing a claim usually will not start until the day you first learn (usually when your doctor tells you) that your previous job was responsible for your medical condition. Speak with a Newnan workers compensation attorney for help with a worker’s compensation claim related to a chronic illness.
Examples of Occupational Diseases and Chronic Conditions
There are various types of occupational illnesses and chronic conditions that could result in a person filing a workers’ compensation claim after they have left their job. Many of these are due to exposure to hazardous chemicals, irritants, or conditions in the workplace. Some of these occupational diseases that could affect a worker include:
- Various respiratory illnesses
- Lung diseases
- Radiation illnesses
- Lead poisoning
- Industrial dermatitis
- Bloodborne diseases
- Chemical poisoning
- Neurological disorders
The physical stresses of an environment can also lead to delayed injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries. Some common examples of these injuries include:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Tendonitis (tennis elbow)
- Back pain
- Temporary or permanent injuries to ligaments, tendons, nerves, or muscles
There are various industries in which exposure to hazardous conditions is more likely. This can include construction, agriculture, food services, mining, welding, and others.