Being injured on the job can be embarrassing and some workers fail to report their injuries until the condition is much worse. While this is understandable, the workers’ compensation law provides that the injured worker must report their accident to his or her supervisor as soon as possible and within 30 days after the accident. There is no magic form in reporting the injury. A simple phone call or conversation will suffice. In a recent case, the worker fell and injured his knee in front of his supervisor. The supervisor helped the worker to a chair and called the ambulance. While the injured worker did not actually make an official report, the supervisor had actual knowledge of the industrial accident. As a result the employer was prevented from claiming it did not have notice.
From a practical standpoint, it is always good to report all injuries immediately. By doing this, the employer has an opportunity to investigate and the employee’s credibility should remain intact. In another case, an employee was lifting crates of cola and stacking them at a convenient store. The employee felt some pain in his back but thought it would go away. The next morning the worker required immediate medical attention as his back “froze up.” The employee called into work “sick” and saw his own doctor. The physician diagnosed him with a back strain, and the employee relayed the information to the supervisor. The employee’s reporting the injury to his supervisor should be enough. It would be better if the employee provided some background as to “how” the back pain started. In turn, the supervisor should investigate the facts surrounding the injury. Additionally, the employee should request for a “panel of physicians” or list of doctors he can treat without cost to the employee. The worker has the right to choose any of those doctors.
If you have any questions about reporting your injuries, please contact the attorneys at Ramos & Law.