Is there a need to report injuries in the workplace officially?
Most injured workers struggle with the decision of whether they should inform their employer that they have been injured on the job. Given the obvious nature of an injury in some situations, it is definitive that reporting is unavoidable; however, injured workers more often than not suffer in silence with the fear of making their employer angry, which they consequently fear may cost them their job.
Under the NC Workers’ Compensation Act, employees who have work-related injuries can qualify for compensation.
The NC Workers’ Compensation Act has several provisions that require the timely reporting of an injury if one later wants to ask for workers’ compensation benefits. The injury must be reported within 30 days of its occurrence. The Act also requires that the report is made in writing, and although there are exceptions to the written reporting requirement, documentation that the injury has been reported to one’s employer is always advisable.
Additionally, the injured employee must make certain that it is clear with his or her employer that the injury truly occurred at work. Normally it isn’t enough to simply tell the employer, “I got hurt.” Filling in the picture nicely and precisely for the employer makes the reporting of one’s work-related injury very clearly detailed as, “I got hurt while doing [fill in the blank] at work.”
The injury must be reported within 30 days to the employer.
Not reporting an injury in a timely fashion can create a no-win scenario for an injured worker. Simply hoping it will get better leaves you in a situation where your fate comes down to luck. If you are injured, luck will normally not help you get better. You need medical care quickly. By not reporting your work-related injury in a timely fashion as outlined above, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company has been given a reason to deny benefits if you try to report your injury later. Your situation may be made worse if your injury progresses to the point where you are not able to work and thus lose your health insurance. At that point, you would be out of work because of your injury with no workers’ compensation benefits and with no health insurance. This results in you not being able to pay your bills and not being able to get the treatment you need to get better.
So, do yourself a favor and report your work-related injury in a timely fashion. Be specific, do it in writing, and keep a copy. Your future may depend on it. If you are uncertain about your employer's workers’ compensation coverage or have questions about a potential issue, please feel free to send us an email or call us at (866) 691-0607 for a FREE consultation.
Michael T. Brown, Jr.
Executive Vice President, Shareholder Attorney, Chief Financial Officer at Crumley Roberts.
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Mike Brown graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and political science and went on to earn his Juris Doctorate from Campbell University School of Law. He is a North Carolina State Bar Board Certified Specialist in Workers’ Compensation and is admitted to practice law in North Carolina and the United States District Courts for the Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina. Mike was elected by his peers as a member of the 2012 Super Lawyers® class of Rising Stars which recognizes attorneys under 40 who excel in their respective areas of practice.