Older employees who claim workers’ compensation find it surprising to learn that their age can affect the outcome of their claim. The issue is becoming more serious as we see more workers extending their careers a few years before retiring.
Many older individuals are still in the workforce. Nevertheless, these older workers face greater challenges when injured at work and need to claim workers’ compensation benefits. The problems lie with several of the following factors.
Pre-Existing Conditions in Older Workers
Our bodies change as we get older, and that is why pre-existing health conditions can factor into a job injury and a workers’ compensation case.
It is natural for people to experience back pain, knee pain, and other problems related to the degeneration of various parts of the body when they get older. You may wonder if this prevents you from making a workers’ comp claim. While these pre-existing conditions do not disqualify them, they can affect them if the claim is not completed correctly. So, it may be harder to get compensation.
Neither employers nor insurance companies will want to pay for this type of claim. However, receiving a denial doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible. You should instead contact a workers’ compensation lawyer immediately to make sure your rights are protected, and you get the benefits you deserve.
What Older Workers Need to Know
A considerable number of people continue to work past retirement age, and most of us believe this age is 65. However, when it comes to workers’ compensation, age is reduced to 45 just because pre-existing conditions can appear as early as your 40s. If you start to notice that your health is starting to impact your ability to work comfortably, consider speaking with a medical professional when possible.
Common Workplace Injuries
Occupational injuries affect older workers as well as younger workers. Any employee can slip and fall at work, whether at ground level or at a height. Anyone can have an accident due to working with equipment or machinery, and anyone can get into an auto accident at work. Often, older workers are less likely to suffer injuries because they possess common sense and are more experienced in avoiding accidents. So, the most common injury for older workers relates to the spine, muscle strains, and joint issues.
The problem is that these injuries are hard to prove that they result from a work-related injury. So, an employer or an insurance company may deny your claim on a first inspection. Despite this rejection, most workers are unaware they may qualify for other types of disability benefits. The only way to find out is to consult an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. The lawyer’s experience can clear up your doubts and the possibility of receiving compensation.
Workplace Injury Reports
Every state is different, but you need to know that each state has deadlines for reporting an injury at work. Most injuries need to be reported to the employer as soon as they happen and otherwise within at least 30 days after the injury. Understandably though, knowing when the exact date of an injury can be difficult to pinpoint.
You need to report them within 30 days of receiving the diagnosis. From that initial report, filling out a compensation claim is another matter because you may not realize the extent of the injury or illness until well after those 30 days. In these cases, there is a statute of limitations for each workers’ compensation claim in each state, but as a general rule, it is two years from the time of injury. If you don’t file within the statute of limitations, you will probably be unable to get compensation.
Injuries of any type can be confusing and stressful. Because of this, it is best to find an expert who has the skills and knowledge needed to handle your case while minimizing errors. If you have been injured at work, diligent research can make the process easier to navigate.
This article was written by Dixie Somers, a freelance writer who loves to write for business, finance, and family issues. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters. You can find Dixie on Facebook.