By Tanya Phillips
If you are injured at work one of the most important things that you can do is report the accident to your employer. Reporting a workplace accident to your employer may seem obvious. However, in some instances when immediate medical attention is not needed many people will wait and see what happens with their health condition. Perhaps they think the injury will get better without medical treatment or that the injury is not serious enough to report.
If you have an accident and sustain an injury at work and do not report it, your employer will most likely deny the claim later. If they deny the claim, they will refuse to provide you with the necessary medical treatment and temporary disability benefits you are entitled to if you are out of work as a result of your injury. Your employer’s workers’ compensation carrier will also question the employer as to why the incident was not timely reported. Your own health insurance may refuse to pay for your treatment since the injury was the result of a workplace accident.
Many employers impose strict time limits on reporting accidents and injuries. Some employers have reporting requirements of twenty-four hours. After that time, they may question whether the accident happened at all or argue that the accident happened outside of the workplace.
Even if you do not need immediate medical attention you should report the accident to a supervisor. This is necessary in case you wake up the next morning in more pain or if your condition gets worse over the next few days or weeks. If you report the accident right after it happens, this will prevent any questions about whether the accident happened at work by putting your employer on notice.
When you do report the accident to your employer, you may be asked to put it in writing or to sign the accident report. If you do not have to sign the report or provide a written submission, you should keep a record of who you reported it too and as much information about the accident as you can in case you need it later. If there are witnesses to the accident, you should let your employer know. It may be important later for your co-workers to confirm that the accident happened as well as how it happened.
You can find additional information about injured workers rights at the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development webpage. If you are employed by the State of New Jersey, its workers’ compensation policies are outlined here.
If you report the accident to your employer as soon as it happens, you will avoid many potential problems with your claim. Every claim must be evaluated on a case by case basis. If you have any questions regarding potential workers’ compensation claims, please feel free to contact our firm. We look forward to answering your questions regarding these issues.