Should I Report My Injury If I Got Hurt At Work?
Reporting A Work Accident
I figured I would talk about the next topic of the things I think you need to know if you've been involved in a work accident. So the question is, should I report it to my company if I got hurt at work? Seems like sort of a standard answer. You'd be surprised in a remarkable number of people hold off on reporting a work accident. There's a couple of reasons for it.
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How Bad Your Injury Is
One is, a lot of times you don't realize how bad your hurt until later that day or the next day. So if you get hurt late during your shift, a lot of times people want to just walk it off or not make a big deal. They don't want to run up doctor bills, they don't want there to be friction between them and their employer by going in and reporting an accident. So they try to walk it off.
I've even been contacted and represented guys who waited days or even more than weeks before they reported a work accident. You know for their very reason? They don't want to rock the boat at work, they don't want to make their boss mad and they don't want to run up a bunch of bills or miss time from work especially if it's a busy season. If a lot is going on at the office, or in the factory, or in the warehouse and they need you and suddenly you call off. You feel like you're letting the team down.
Unwitnessed Work Accident
The problem though is that, one of the biggest defenses that a workers comp insurance company has for a work injury case or a workers comp case is that, your injury was not caused by an incident at work. A lot of times they try to argue, like,
"well you know he's claiming he got hurt on Friday but he didn't report until Tuesday, he might have had it playing tackle football with his friends or he might have had it working on his house, how do we know he really had it at work?"
Especially if the fall or the accident at work is un-witnessed. Like you're working by yourself when it happens. That can create a major defense to the workers' comp claim. That's why I tell people if you have been involved in a work accident, definitely call your boss, make an incident report and do all that stuff. If you get hurt and on the job, you've gotta make that report. Because then, once there's paper that the company is creating in an incident report or it's called a first report of accident, they're never going to be able to deny that it's a work accident if you make that report right away.
Minor Injury Is Considered A Workers Comp Case
It's sort of common sense but you'd be amazed by the number of people who ask. I even get people who call me and say "yeah I got hurt at work but should I report it?". Of course you should.
Here's one way to think about it. I tell people this sometimes, let's say you get lucky and it's a minor injury even if it's a neck or a back strain or a shoulder strain. Within a month or two, you're back to normal. That's still a worker's comp case. It's still worth some amount of money.
Protect Your Right To Recover
But here's the problem, a lot of times, initially you can't tell the difference between a knee injury that's just a sprain or a knee injury that's eventually going to require surgery. Or a neck injury that's a sprain or a neck injury that's going to require surgery ultimately. Since you can't tell whether the injury you have is going to last long or whether it's going to be over a week or two you have to protect yourself by going in and reporting it to the company.
I always tell people 100% report it as close to the date of the injury as you possibly can. So that's the answer. More importantly you have to do it to protect your right to recover and get those workers comp benefits in case it's a real serious accident.
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