Reporting an injury to an employer is the first important step an injured worker must take to secure the rights that person deserves. It can be difficult, but it can spell trouble for a claim in the long run if this step is ignored.
Why would an injured worker avoid reporting an injury?
Some injured workers do not want to deal with the dark cloud they think will follow after reporting an injury. Some do not want to deal with an employer’s panel physician. Some assume their injury is minor and not worthy of the trouble associated with reporting a claim. However, whatever the reason, failing to report an injury is a dangerous game that can seriously impact one’s ability to collect workers’ compensation benefits.
In Pennsylvania, you must provide notice of an injury to an employer within 120 days. Failing to provide accurate information about an injury may prevent workers from obtaining benefits.
When reporting an injury, an injured worker should specify that the damage is related to the work performed and provide notice to the proper person on the job. Generalized language that a worker merely has pain in a particular body part will likely not meet the notice requirement. Injured workers seeking compensation must be willing to explain the depth of their injury and how it occurred.
Reporting the injury as early as possible is usually best. In court, insurance companies will use any delay in an injury report to argue that the injured worker is not as injured as the person claims.
If you have been hurt at work, it is best to do the following:
- Report your injury sooner rather than later
- Report the injury to an appropriate supervisor or lead
- Make sure to specify that the injury is from a work activity
- Follow up on reports of injury to obtain your workers’ compensation claim information
- Seek appropriate medical treatment