The NJ Supreme Court has ruled that employees have 90 days to notify their employers after the diagnosis of an occupational disease. If the employee fails to notify his employer, a claim for workers’ compensation benefits may be barred.
This decision overrules a lower court ruling of last year. Late notice will no longer be permitted.
While working in various capacities for approximately 30 years, an employee was exposed to asbestos fiber. During 1987 the employee retired. In 1988 the retired employee consulted with both a lawyer and a doctor. In November of 1989 the employee had actual knowledge that he suffered from asbestosis. In 1990, a third party products liability claim was filed as a result of his asbestosis which he learned of when he received a copy of the medical report from his attorney. In March of 1991, the former employee received the proceeds of the first settlement from a defendant in the third party action. On October 23, 1991, within two years after he had knowledge of his occupationally-related disease, the former employee filed a workers’ compensation claim against his former employer. The court barred the claim because the employee had not notified his former employer until the filing of the workers’ compensation claim which was not within the 90 days provided by the Statute. Brock v. Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (N.J. 1997).