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Georgia workers’ compensation statute of limitations

The general rule in Georgia is that a claim for workers’ compensation benefits must be filed within one year of the accident date or the right to compensation is barred, not two years as in other personal injury claims. However, the statute of limitations is tolled in cases where income or medical benefits have been paid to or on behalf of the injured worker. In those cases, the employee has one year from the date of last remedial medical treatment furnished by the employer/insurer or two years from the last payment of weekly income benefits. O.C.G.A. §34-9-82(a). In cases involving the death of the employee, a claim must be filed within one year of the date of death. O.C.G.A. §34-9-82(b). “Any claim . . . required by this chapter to be filed with the board shall be deemed filed on the earlier of: (1) the date such claim or notice is actually received by the board; or (2) the official postmark date such claim or notice was mailed to the board, properly addressed with postage prepaid, by registered or certified mail or statutory overnight delivery.” O.C.G.A. §34-9-100(e).

Note that while the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation has discretion to excuse untimely notice of a work-related injury, the Board does not have discretion to excuse the late filing of a claim. “The board has no jurisdiction of the matter until the claim is filed, and no compensation can be granted on a claim filed after expiration of [one] year.” Travelers Ins. Co. v. Hall, 128 Ga.App. 71 (1973). Bottom line: there is no way to prevent a claim from being barred by the statute of limitations if the facts establish it was not filed timely, so we highly recommend filing a claim with the State Board within one year of the accident date in all cases.

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