By: Samuel M. Gaylord
In today’s economy workers are being injured and not reporting it. In fact, a recent survey showed only one (1) out of every seven (7) work accidents are reported. Fear of losing their job, fear of reporting the claim, fear of being perceived a troublemaker are all legitimate concerns after getting hurt on the job. This fear and non-reporting leads to a wide range of problems potentially preventing an injured worker from receiving appropriate medical treatment and other important benefits.
In New Jersey, the law says that if you are injured in the course of your employment you have up to two years from the day you last receive a benefit in order to file a workers compensation claim. However, it is critical that you report the injury to your supervisor or employer immediately. Many employers require accidents be reported by the end of the same workday, and your failure to report the accident, although it may not prevent you from receiving workers compensation benefits, it may result in your being disciplined for violating company policy.
Additionally, the longer you wait to report the accident to your employer or their insurance carrier the more likely the delay will be used against you in denying your entitled benefits. The insurance company will “investigate” at length whether the injury even occurred at work and try to see if there is some other reason for your injury. Immediately reporting the claim, even if you do not feel the need to seek emergency medical care, ensures a record of your accident so if your injury becomes worse it is documented and later easier to get the benefits you deserve.
Even if you have waited to report the injury to your job, in New Jersey the law considers any injury reported within 90 days of the accident as timely. This means that even if you do not tell your job right after an accident happens, you can still report the injury to your employer within the 90-day window and still be eligible to receive workers compensation benefits. Be mindful, that the further away from the date of the accident the more an insurance carrier will use the delay to their advantage and if you wait more than 90 days to report an accident the insurance carrier will refuse to provide any workers compensation benefits.
Far too often, the insurance industry gets away with not having to provide benefits an injured worker is entitled to receive because of the failure to fill out a form, verbally report the claim, or otherwise make the employer aware of an injury. No one can afford to lose their job, but if you cannot physically do your job how long do you think your employer will keep you? Reporting an injury is about protecting yourself not about harming your employer.
No matter where you are in the process, even if your being told you cannot report your claim an experienced and certified New Jersey Workers Compensation Law attorney can answer your questions and ensure your rights are protected.
If you have any additional questions do not hesitate to call (609) 771-8611 or email Sam Gaylord at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sam Gaylord focuses his practice on workers’ compensation, Social Security Disability, and disability pension appeals. He is certified as a Workers’ Compensation Attorney by the Supreme Court of New Jersey and is licensed to practice in New Jersey as well as Pennsylvania.