Work Injury: How and When to Tell Your Employer About Your Injury
A work injury includes an injury or illness that has been sustained at work. The injury may be directly caused or contributed by the factors at the workplace. It’s common for people to get hurt at work. Unfortunately, it’s also common for these injuries to go unreported.
In the case of a workplace injury, workers are often faced with the dilemma of whether they should report their injury and if yes, when. It’s often noted that many workers don’t report their injuries for multiple reasons. Some fear the reaction of the employer. Others discount the severity of the injury, choosing not to report it.
While the New Jersey Workers compensation law allows an employee to report an injury within 120 days of the injury, work injury lawyers and experts highly recommend that you report your work injury as soon as possible for the following reasons:
- Express concern. Reporting your injury right away shows that you take your injury seriously and are concerned about its personal and professional consequences. Thus, you must report your injury in writing.
- Increase in the severity of the injury. It’s very difficult to judge the seriousness of an injury right away and thus you must not underestimate the impact of an injury. What looks like a simple sprain in the back could turn out to be a fracture or dislocation of the spine. Thus, you must not exclude any injury or pain in any body part, thinking that it’s too moderate to be mentioned.
- Adhere to deadlines. Usually, workers think that the injury is not serious enough to be reported and try to work through it. However, the delay in realizing the severity of an injury may make you miss the deadline for reporting the injury, thus losing the right to claim any work comp for the injury.
- Avoid suspicion. Delay in reporting an injury can cast a doubt on the credibility of your claim in the eyes of the employer as well as your worker’s compensation case and may lead to rejection of your claim. You may be required to justify the reasons that led to the delay in reporting the injury.
Below are the primary steps you must follow in case of a work injury
- Inform your supervisor, manager, or assigned health and safety officer about the accident in detail
- Make an entry in the workplace register of accidents stating the time and location of the injury, and explaining how the accident occurred. You must do this regardless of employer’s knowledge about the accidents.
- Seek medical treatment immediately and report all the injuries even if you find them moderate. This is important as while granting compensation for your claim; the attorney may look into your medical records to evaluate the nature of your injury.
- Get in touch with the relevant safety authority in case you choose to file a claim.
Employers’ take on the work injury:
While workers don’t report injuries because they fear getting fired or being considered indiscipline, the employers usually under-report work injuries for various reasons such as fear of increasing workers’ compensation costs or decreasing their chances of winning work contracts. Thus, employers try to understate the seriousness of an injury and avoid reporting it.
As per a report from the Government Accountability Office, employers frequently use various tactics to avoid reporting an injury like seeking alternative diagnostic tests in case the initial test shows serious injury or finding medical practitioners who would certify the injury as a small one that requires only first aid, thus showing it as an injury that doesn’t need to be recorded.
Your rights in case of a work injury
It’s disheartening to receive an adverse response from your employer to your work injury claim; however, you must file and pursue your claim as this is crucial to your recovery. To do so, you can consult a workers compensation lawyer who can help you understand your responsibilities and obligations while safeguarding you against pressure or threats.
GET LEGAL ASSISTANCE
If you have been injured on the job, contact the Law Firm of Craig A. Altman. Our attorneys have been helping South Jersey injured workers file for workers’ comp benefits and will do everything to make sure you get every penny you deserve.