Injured on the job? One of the most important factors in your workers’ compensation case is the first step: reporting the injury.
But how long do you have to report an injury at work?
How Long Do You Have to Report an Injury At Work?
According to Florida law, you must report the accident or illness to your employer within 30 days from:
- the date of the injury,
- your knowledge of the injury, or
- a doctor’s determination that you have a workplace injury.
These last two points would particularly apply to overexertion injuries or illnesses that do not arise suddenly, as no one would be able to determine with absolute certainty when you first started to contract mesothelioma, for example.
Your employer may ask you to complete and/or sign a First Report of Injury form, which they will send to the workers’ compensation insurance company within seven days.
If your employer refuses to report your injury to their insurance carrier, you may contact the insurance company and do so directly. Contact the Bureau of Employee Assistance and Ombudsman if you are unsure of your employer’s workers’ comp carrier.
Other employee Obligations
After you have reported the injury to your employer, you should:
- request that your employer allow you to go to an emergency room or walk-in clinic (if you believe emergency treatment is necessary),
- request your employer authorize a doctor for you to see and be seen by that authorized treating physician (if emergency medical attention is not needed),
- follow up with your employer or contact your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier.
Never assume that your employer is looking out for your best interest or even that they are doing everything they need to in order to handle your workers’ comp claim. Unfortunately, mistakes and oversights are made and you should fight for the rights and benefits you deserve.
Why You Should Report Your Workplace Injury ASAP
Reporting a work injury does not necessarily mean that your case will end up in litigation or even mediation. It is not a commitment on your part to seek compensation, nor is meeting with a licensed attorney.
Think of an injury report like a bookmark. By reporting a work injury to your employer, you are simply making an official record of the incident in case you need to refer back to it.
Even if you think your accident only needs an ice pack and a couple of Tylenol, you should report it as soon as possible. Some employees try to “walk it off” if they feel their injury isn’t serious enough to warrant a report. They tell themselves that they will feel better, or that a lack of pain means that problems from the injury won’t crop up later.
But what seems at first like a minor injury can actually be a serious condition with lifelong effects. If you let those 30 days pass without reporting the accident, your employer will be able to argue that you should not receive any benefits because of late reporting, depriving you of the chance to receive the benefits you deserve.
Reporting a work injury as soon as possible after your accident greatly improves your potential case. Even if you wait until late within the 30-day period, it can make your employer more likely to question a claim. Employers often feel that if someone has truly been injured, they would not delay reporting the accident.
If you report your accident or injury within 30 days, and nothing comes of it, great! But it’s better to have the accident reported and documented and not need it than the other way around.
Take Control of Your Recovery
So how soon should you report an injury at work? As quickly as possible!
You should always report a workplace injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible, as this will greatly improve your situation in the event your condition becomes more severe.
Any workers’ comp attorney worth their license will tell you the same thing. Because it is often impossible to know how an injury will affect you long-term, it is best to prepare for the worst case scenario, especially when there are no drawbacks to doing so.
If you have been injured at work, you have the right to seek compensation. Schedule a free consultation with workers’ comp attorney Brian Tadros today to see how he can help you.