What to do if you are hurt at work
One of our clients injured his wrist at work. The insurance company’s doctor agreed that he needed surgery, but said it was due to an old injury. Fortunately for the client, he made an incident report for what he thought was a minor injury to the same wrist a year earlier. As a result of making that report, we were able to establish that the surgery was indeed work-related and our client received his workers’ compensation benefits. Even minor injuries may turn out to be more serious and should be documented.
Although by law, in Pennsylvania, you have 120 days to make an incident report, it is best to do it as soon as possible after a work injury to protect yourself and avoid suspicion by the workman’s comp insurance company. Some employers also have policies requiring work injuries to be reported within a certain time limit. While filing a late report of injury does not affect an employee’s right to workers’ compensation (as long as it is within the 120 days), it may subject the employee to other administrative forms of discipline.
Document your report
Although Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation law does not require a written incident report, a written report is best because it is easier to prove that the injury was reported. Many employers have their own injury report form to complete. You should retain or request a copy of the report so you can prove that you reported the injury.
At Bernard Stuczynski & Barnett, we are often asked about employers who refuse to accept an injury report. In this case, it is important to submit a written report to the employer and prove that you did so. According to Workers’ Compensation Law, all Pennsylvania employers must post the name and contact information of their workers’ compensation insurer.
Is it too late to make a report?
What if you did not report an injury within the 120 days and you are now having problems? All is not lost! There may be facts that legally placed your employer on notice. Also, in some types of injuries, such as repetitive motion injuries, (carpal tunnel syndrome being the most common example), the date of injury is considered the last day of work. Since each day of work is considered a new injury, you may not be too late, but you need to have your questions addressed.
At Bernard Stuczynski & Barnett, we are available to help you with these issues. There is no fee to discuss your claim and we can make sure it is reported properly. Contact our office for a free consultation at (814) 452-6232.