Workers’ compensation carriers look for reasons to deny your claim and failure to timely report your accident and injures is one of the common reasons they use to deny workers’ compensation benefits. Do not make it easy for the workers’ compensation carrier to deny your claim. Report your work-related accident immediately after it happens. Reporting your accident does not make you a bad employee. Many people don’t want to make a big fuss about their accident and injury. You may think that you will recover quickly, but it pays to be overly cautious. IF YOU ARE INJURED ON THE JOB, I STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT YOU IMMEDIATELY REPORT YOUR WORKERS’ COMPENSATION CLAIM TO YOUR SUPERVISOR.
What happens when an accident and an injury are not reported in a timely manner? Your employer and its workers’ compensation carrier will deny entitlement to benefits. Regardless of how serious your injuries are they will deny all medical care and refuse to pay you wage loss benefits while you are too hurt to work. In other words, you will be left in pain with no means to pay your mortgage, car payment, and will be unable to put food on your family’s table.
When you delay reporting the claim until after the weekend, you give your employer a golden excuse to deny your claim. We’ve often seen insurance companies deny claims on the basis that they were not reported within 24-48 hours, even though the law says you have 30 days regardless of what is written in your employee handbook. We’ve had too many injured workers tell us that their employer went so far as to tell them that they could not bring a claim because they didn’t report the injury immediately. Of course, that is absolutely false, but it gives you an idea of how employers can react to these claims.
This also brings up a very good point: Your employer is not a lawyer. Chances are that your employer, even with the best intentions, will not give you the correct information when it comes to your workers’ compensation claim. Your employer may believe that all accidents and injuries must be reported within 24 hours but that is absolutely false.
You must also report your accident to the correct people. Mentioning your accident to a co-worker is never enough. As soon as you can, you must find your supervisor and tell the supervisor about your accident and injury. Insist that your supervisor make a written report of the accident and that you are given a copy of the accident report. In the State of Florida, the form is called a First Report of Injury.
Take your time when filling out the accident report. Be accurate and provide as much detail as possible. Make sure to document all your injuries from the beginning. Even if you don’t think your injuries are that serious you must still report them as they may become more problematic as time goes by. Failing to report all your injuries provides the employer with a convenient excuse to deny treatment for your injuries later on.
If there are any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get those co-workers’ names and telephone numbers. We recommend that you ask them to do you a favor and just write a quick paragraph about what they saw. Most of the time if you ask right away your co-workers will not have any problem writing a quick note. Later, when the witnesses feel pressured by the employer to stay quiet and stay away from you, it will be much more difficult for you to get those statements.
If you have questions about reporting issues or if your worker’s compensation claim has been denied for failure to report the accident and injury on time, contact a workers' compensation attorney immediately. Rue & Ziffra is here to determine if the appropriate time limits have been applied and to discuss what legal actions should be taken to pursue the benefits you are entitled under the law. Call Rue & Ziffra at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a free virtual consultation today.