Follow the Golden Rule . . . Give Notice As Soon As Possible
If you are hurt at work, the most important thing to remember is to report the injury to your employer through your supervisor at the time of the injury. Every injury should be reported, no matter how small you may think it to be. Any injury could potentially become a liability, not only to your health but also to your finances if it is unreported. Telling your employer that you are injured is your responsibility and it is called “giving notice.”
Too many times an employee will feel a “pop” in their knee, a pain in their shoulder or their back, and let it go for days or weeks. Not reporting an incident or injury can allow your employer to deny your claim through their insurance carrier. This can initially prevent your medical expenses and/or wage loss from being paid if the treating physician should later remove you from work due to the injury.
These injuries, which may seem minimal to you and appear to require reporting, can be an indicator of a more serious injury. You may feel that is it a strain/sprain and a few days rest may alleviate your pain, and it may very well. However, your injury can end up being serious you must protect yourself. The only way to protect your rights is to give notice.
The first step to protecting your rights as an injured worker is to report your injury as soon as possible under the Workers’ Compensation Act. Obviously, if you are removed from work via ambulance you may not be able to report your injury at the time that it happened, but never assume that someone else has reported your injury for you. Follow-up with your employer as soon as possible to ensure your injury has been documented.
Many injuries that end up being denied by the Insurance Carrier happen on a Friday. The injured worker goes home without reporting it on the assumption that after a weekend of rest, that he/she will feel better and they do not report it until Monday. On Monday, the Insurance Carrier most likely is going to deny the claim based upon their perception that the injury did not happen at work but instead during the weekend while you were out of work.
Do not assume the insurance carrier will pick up the claim and pay for your benefits because you are a good worker or because the company has employed you for many years. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. Remember the insurance carriers are not in business to pay out money. If you give them an “out” they will take it.
In the course of our legal experience with workers’ compensation claims, we have seen family members deny that other family members were injured in the scope of their employment. We have seen long-standing employees who thought they were very good friends with the owner of the company being denied for benefits. In the state of Pennsylvania, every employer is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This is in place to protect you. The most important way to protect yourself and your rights are to give notice of any injury at the time of injury or as soon thereafter as possible. Under the Workers’ Compensation Act, you must report your injury within the first 120 days or be forever barred from making a claim. Please keep in mind, the longer you wait to give notice the greater likelihood that the Insurance Carrier will deny the claim.
If you have any questions about a workplace injury, find some answers here.
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