One of the most important factors in a workers’ compensation case is handled by the employee — reporting the injury. The fact that the injury occurred at work must be documented.
Injured on the job? You have 30 days from the date of the injury to report that fall, laceration, sprain or burn to the employer, no matter how minor the injury appears. Your employer will then complete a First Report of Injury form and have you sign it. The employer sends the form to the workers’ compensation insurance company.
Task #1: Report
Reporting a work injury does not necessarily mean that the case will end up in litigation, either, or even mediation. Reporting the injury is not a commitment of any kind on your part to seek compensation. Meeting with an attorney to get information is also not a commitment to start a case. An injury report puts a crucial piece in place should you need to refer back to it if legal action is required.
Think of an injury report like a bookmark. A work injury documented on time is just holding that place in case you need to refer back to it.
In addition to not realizing they have 30 days to report a workplace accident, employees often try to “tough it out.” Some feel the 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. They don’t want to rock the boat for something that appears minor.
But reporting a work injury — which, again, is not a definitive move toward litigation — greatly improves a potential case. If you report an injury after 30 days, the claim is barred for untimely notice, according to statute. Even if you wait until late within the 30-day period, it can make the 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 have this important piece in place just in case. It helps make things easier for you and for your legal counsel.