Can I sue my boss or file a claim after 3 years?

by Roger
(West Virginia)

I fell from a scaffold while at work in 2009. My boss asked me not to file a workman's comp claim and being the nice guy I was, I did not file. He paid most of my medical bills and gave me light duty work which seemed to resolve the issue. The problem is I have had 3 back surgeries since then and now I am not able to work because of my back.

Is there anything I can do to be compensated for my pain and disability, such as sue my boss or file for workers compensation? Am I out of luck due to the length of time, or do I still have a case since he paid my medical bills (which proves the injury and his responsibility)? I had no idea it was going to be this bad. Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Can I sue my boss or file a claim after 3 years?":

Roger (West Virginia):

Unfortunately the State of West Virginia's Workers Compensation Statute of Limitations Period for the filing of work-related injury claims - referred to as a "WC-1" claims - is six months from the date of injury.

I refer you to the State of West Virginia Code, Section 23-4-15, wherein it states:

"...permits a claimant to file an application for benefits based on an injury for up to (6) months after the date of injury. If the application is filed after the (6) month statutory filing period the claimant will be barred from recovery."

If your injury was as a result of an "Occupational Disease" the West Virginia Code Section 23-4-15(c) states:

"...the statute of limitations for an occupational disease is (3) years from the date of last exposure, or the date the claimant knew or should have known he suffered from that occupational disease."

Regrettably you really should have filed a workers compensation claim. Inasmuch as the injury occurred on the job you would have been entitled to the full amount of available benefits provided by the workers compensation insurance fund.

It does not appear you have any other legal recourse. Even though your employer apparently "ratified" the on-the-job injury by paying the medical bills, he is "lawsuit proof". In other words, you can't sue hum.

If you believe you are fully disabled you can access an on-line application for a State of West Virginia Disability claim. You can also file a claim with the Social Security Disability Administration.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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