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Workers' compensation defense: Statute of limitations challenged

The finances of California businesses can be adversely affected by workers' compensation claims that lead to increased insurance premiums. In some cases, workers can challenge the benefits they receive, and employers may find the need for legal assistance to handle workers' compensation defense. A company in another state is appealing a court ruling to reinstate payment to a worker who was injured in August of 1993.

The workplace accident resulted in the amputation of the worker's leg, and he received temporary total disability benefits. After a prosthetic leg had been fitted, he resumed work in Jan. 1994, and the benefits he received changed to permanent partial disability benefits. The payments ceased in May 1998. The company that employed him was sold in 2006, and, along with other employees, the plaintiff was laid off in 2009. The man sought reinstatement of temporary total disability benefits in 2012, claiming his catastrophic injury in 1993 entitled him to benefits after he became unemployed.

The owners of the new company challenged the claim, stating that the statute of limitations of two years made the claim invalid. The worker re-filed, indicating his date of injury to be Sept. 2009, which was the date of his dismissal. After the claim had failed in the superior court, the court of appeals reversed the ruling and determined that less than a year had passed since his prosthetic leg was replaced in Dec. 2011, entitling the worker to benefit payments.

Whether the company's appeal will be successful is not yet known, but it certainly indicates that the legal costs and time spent on such litigation can impact on a company's bottom line. Retaining the services of an experienced attorney to handle such issues may prevent unnecessary legal expenses. A California lawyer can handle workers' compensation defense and other issues related to employee injury claims.

Source: wtoc.com, "GA Supreme Court hears Dooly Co. case", Dave Miller, Feb. 9, 2016

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