Labor and Industries has strict rules that state you must file a claim within one year of your work injury. However, if you have an ‘occupational disease’ such as degenerative arthritis, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc, you have at least one year from when informed, in writing by a doctor, that your occupational condition was the result of work. In reality, doctors virtually issue such letters, which means that the Statute of Limitations is theoretically open at any point until you file a claim for an occupational disease and/or condition.
Recently, our firm represented a man who had a bad injury to his knee, but he also had very bad arthritic knees that were caused by work (lots of standing and walking on hard floors forty (40) hours per week. He was a bit intimidated by his employer, a large and powerful company, and tried to work for a full year and did not file a DLI claim until he was one day too late.
He was fired just after his one year over and he had no rights to file an injury claim.
The firing itself may have been illegal, but he wanted his L & claim allowed. His case was turned down by 3 law firms in Spokane before contacting our office. We took his case in and had him file an ‘occupational disease’ claim for his arthritic knee as he was still within the statute of limitations for that condition.
The claim was allowed after some litigation, and our client was granted 35 months of total disability benefits. He continued to receive monthly benefits for the next two years and was finally granted a pension (which is total and permanent disability benefits).
Remember, if only a part of your claim is filed (and denied), other portions of your claim can still be filed. Also be sure to remember that a ‘condition’ or ‘disease’ that is work-related likely is not limited to a one year statute of limitations and may not be subject to any statute of limitations unless (as happens on rare occasion), a doctor has informed you in writing you have a condition that was caused by your work activities. This applies to ‘conditions’ ‘diseases” and “overuse’ injuries.