Waiting to file a workers’ comp claim can be hazardous.
Here’s when to file a workplace injury.
There’s never a “convenient” time to suffer an injury at work, but it seems like there are always a hundred reasons not to make a big deal of it.
Perhaps you’re in line for a big promotion. Or maybe you have a vacation or holiday scheduled and you don’t want to rock the boat. Many injured workers are left pondering the question, “When should I report my workplace injury?”
The workers’ compensation program has been a lifesaver for millions of Americans, yet every day, people harm their chances of a successful settlement because they waited too long to report their injuries.
When Should I Report My Workplace Injury?
As soon as possible!
- The date the injury occurred
- Your knowledge of the injury
- A doctor’s determination that you have an injury
But even though you have 30 days to report an injury, it will not help your case to wait until Day 29 to file a workers’ comp claim.
This 30-day window is especially useful for overexertion injuries or illnesses that do not arise suddenly (such as carpal tunnel syndrome). In some cases, your condition may have arisen gradually over several years before you were diagnosed with a work-related injury or illness.
Report The Accident ASAP
Here in the United States, workplace culture places a high value on “giving it your all,” even if you are sick or injured. This leads many injured employees to simply ignore their symptoms—including pain—in the hopes their injury will simply get better on its own.
When it comes to Florida workers, this is one of the biggest workers comp mistakes you can make.
The longer you wait to report an injury at work, the more credibility you lose. The workers’ compensation insurance company will argue that—since you waited so long to file a claim—you must not have been injured too severely.
Waiting to file a workers compensation claim also runs the risk that you will be fired or laid off before you can report your injury. While you may still be eligible for benefits, filing a report after being fired or laid off makes it look like you were motivated more by revenge than recovery.
What If It’s Already Been 30 Days?
Unfortunately, if you fail to report your injury within that crucial 30-day window, you are not entitled to anything and your case will be denied.
This is why it is of vital importance to report your injury to your employer and/or their workers’ comp insurance company as soon as possible.
How To Report a Workplace Injury
If you have been injured at work, don’t let 30—or even three—days pass before filing a report.
First, notify your employer about your injury as soon as you are aware of it. Even if you end up recovering from your injury with no problems, filing a report is great protection in the event that you end up having to file a claim later on.
Second, seek emergency medical treatment, if necessary. During your case, you will see a doctor selected by the insurance company, but you always have the right to go to the E.R. in an emergency. You should always ask the Employer if you have permission to go to the E.R. for initial evaluation.
Third, create a paper trail when reporting your workplace injury to fully document the details of your case. If you end up filing a claim later on, having written documentation will greatly improve your chances of a successful outcome.
Once the insurance company has assigned you an authorized treating physician, follow all of their instructions about returning to work, even if you disagree with them. There are ways to get a second opinion, but the process must be handled carefully so as not to jeopardize your claim.
A workers’ comp attorney can provide valuable insight on the potential pitfalls of your case, let you know what to expect, and give you advice on communicating with your authorized treating physician and the insurance company.
Protecting Your Rights
If you are injured in a workplace incident, it is crucial that you file a report with your employer as soon as possible, even if you don’t expect to file a claim.
You may think that your employer will do everything in their power to help you recover from your injuries, but the truth is that workers’ comp benefits are not in their hands. It is actually the insurance company that is in charge of approving or denying your claim.
In order to win the workers’ comp game, you need to play by their rules. Filing an injury report as soon as possible, listening to the advice of your doctor, and speaking with an experienced workers compensation attorney gives you the best odds of winning your case.
At the Law Office of Brian D. Tadros, P.A., we only practice workers’ comp law and have the knowledge and expertise needed to advise and represent you right from the start.
Call today to schedule a free consultation.