However, if you fail to follow the correct procedure, you might not be collecting any workers’ compensation benefits despite how much you may need it.
When Should The Work Injury Be Reported?
Until you have reported your injury or illness, you have no chance of receiving your workers’ compensation. Typically, it is best for you to report it as soon as possible. Not only does this quicken the process, but it makes for a stronger case too. Usually, the deadline for reporting your injury or illness is within 30 days. However, in Florida you may also file a petition for benefits within 2 years, but there can be a few exceptions to this.
How Do You Give Notice?
For many oral notice is allowed, usually by telling your supervisor or Human Resources department. However, some places may require a written format like a letter or email. Even if this is not required, having something written can be to your benefit as it provides proof of when you reported the injury or illness. For this reason, we’d advise keeping a copy for your records.
In addition, your place of work might even have their own accident report forms for you to fill out that are not required by workers’ compensation laws. If you are required to fill out your employer’s accident report, make sure to keep a copy for yourself.
When you notify your employer, make sure to include:
- Your name and contact information
- Where the accident occurred
- How you injured yourself
- What symptoms you are experiencing as a result of your injury
Avoid Mistakes on an Accident Report
Often insurance companies will use written notices or accident reports in order to dispute workers’ compensation claims. For example, your insurance company may compare the information in the report you filed with your doctor’s initial treatment records. If anything on your report or notice is inconsistent or incorrect, your workers’ compensation claim could end up being denied.
When you are completing your written notice or accident report, make sure to avoid:
- Describing any symptoms that did not occur (such as a loss of consciousness)
- Any speculation about your accident (for example, if you slipped and fell for unknown reasons do not make guesses about what the cause could have been)
- Reporting any restrictions or limitations that you do not have
Your written report needs to be as accurate and honest as possible, but it is not necessary to include every potential detail of the incident. In fact, being too detailed in your report can actually backfire on you. If the scope of your injuries is not yet clear, you probably should avoid being overly specific. Avoid providing any type of diagnosis unless your doctor had given one.
However, you still need to report even minor symptoms. For example, suppose you fell and hit your head at work and only have a minor headache. It may not seem worth mentioning at the time, but it could develop into something much more serious later on. If you hadn’t mentioned the headache until weeks afterwards, the insurance company is likely to question your credibility and end up denying your claim.
If you have any questions about your workers’ compensation claim or are having trouble getting the benefits you need to recover, don’t hesitate to speak with a workers’ compensation lawyer.