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If you have been injured on the job, the most important thing to know about reporting is to make sure to tell your supervisor about the accident/injury.
It is specifically important to tell your supervisor—not your co-worker, not your friend, and if you’re in a union shop, not your shop steward. You can tell all of these people, so long as you also tell your supervisor as soon as possible. If you have a Human Resources department at your job, you should also make sure to tell them as soon as possible.
Many companies, especially larger companies, have a written protocol—usually included in the employee manual—about how to report on-the-job accidents and injuries.
This protocol is usually explained to new hires, but it is understandable if you don’t remember. Nevertheless, you should know that there is likely to be a strict procedure that you must follow exactly in order to avoid complications with your benefits.
To start with, though, as long as you make sure that you tell a supervisor, a manager, and/or human resources, you are headed in the right direction. After that, you should try to find out about the procedure as soon as possible, and follow it as closely as possible.
Some companies have procedures that require you to fill out a written report before a certain amount of time has passed. If you have an obligation to fill out a written report, you should do so as soon as possible. Failure to properly report an accident—or to comply with any other reasonable procedural policy—can result in the denial of the benefits you need.
So, you should absolutely take any and all extra steps in following your employer’s stated procedure. If for any reason you are not able to report your accident in the immediate aftermath—for example, if your injuries were too severe and you were not capable of doing so right away—then you should do so as soon as possible, at the first available opportunity.
Firstly, you would report any injury to your supervisor, not to a workers’ compensation insurance company.
However, assuming you are reporting to the supervisor, you should absolutely report any injuries you obtained on the job, no matter how severe you think they might be at first. The reason for this is that you simply do not know how severe an injury is going to turn out to be.
For example, let’s say you hurt your back on the job. You think you just twisted or tweaked it. In some cases, you might wake up the next day feeling fine. In other cases, though, you might wake up the next day, or two days later, or even a month later, and the injury might feel much worse.
If you never reported the injury in the first place because you thought it was minor, no one will believe you if you try to report it retroactively once it starts to really hurt. No one will believe that you didn’t hurt it at home or on your off-hours, maybe lifting something or picking something up.
Therefore, in order to protect yourself, you have to report every injury, no matter how minor. If it turns out to stay minor and never becomes a big issue, then there’s no harm in having reported it. On the other hand, if you erred on the side of not reporting an injury and it got much worse, there’s a lot of potential harm caused.
Notably, many accident-based injuries feel much less severe at first than they actually are. This is due to a number of factors, including shock. I’ve tried numerous cases where clients didn’t report a minor injury that turns out to be very significant, even requiring surgery.
In these cases, it was often difficult to establish the reporting and the causal relation connecting the job to the injury, since they didn’t report the injury immediately. In this case, it pays to listen to the old adage: “better safe than sorry”. Take the few extra minutes and report any and all on-the-job injuries. Hopefully, if you have an injury that feels minor, it will stay minor. If it gets worse, though, reporting the injury to a supervisor as soon as possible will protect you from benefits denial.
Simply put, it is very important to report a workplace injury to your employer immediately because that is how the law is structured. According to New Jersey law, if you don’t promptly report your injury, you run a very strong risk of your employer denying any associated workers’ compensation claims. This can mean that you wind up getting no benefits in a case where you would have otherwise qualified for benefits.
So, you have to report every workplace injury—even very minor injuries—to make sure that you are protected. Even if you wind up not needing to file a claim for benefits or being hurt that badly, it is always better to cover your bases and report the injury. You have to do so in order to preserve your rights under the law.
Unfortunately, employers not wanting to extend medical and temporary disability benefits for workplace accidents and injuries is a pervasive problem.
There are many employers who will delay or outright deny claims, saying you aren’t hurt, or saying they’ve done their part and given papers to the insurance company when they haven’t in the hopes that you’ll drop it.
You are entitled to get emergency treatment right away, and workers’ compensation will be picking up the bill for that treatment and paying for it.
So, going to the hospital immediately—or even the next day, if you didn’t realize that your injuries were that bad right away, and the condition or symptoms got worse—will always be covered. However, if your employer is giving you a hard time, it is very important to seek out an experienced workers’ compensation attorney to help with your case. We have ways of putting the insurance company on notice, citing certain specific laws to let them know that if they aren’t going to provide treatment when the law says they must, you will get treatment on your own and we will hold them responsible for those bills.
However, this all depends on properly documenting everything on your end. If you don’t document your accident, injuries, and treatment in the right way, you run a very high risk of any treatment that you seek on your own won’t be paid.
Even worse, if you decide not to get treatment, or to delay it too long because you’re afraid of not getting compensated, you won’t get better, and might even get worse. You might get so much worse that you can’t work anymore, when it never had to get that bad.
In a case like that, where you can’t return to work because you are too injured with a condition you haven’t treated yet, things could quickly become catastrophic. Your boss may fire you, because you are not working but you are not seeking treatment from an authorized treating doctor. This can be called insubordination, and used as just cause to fire someone.
Of course, you will know that you are not showing up because you are hurt from an accident you got on the job, but they likely will not care at the end of the day.
So, it’s very important that if you are denied any benefit, you go and seek out an attorney who can help you get the benefits you deserve.
For more information on Properly Reporting A Work Injury In NJ, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (855) 208-3650 today.