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What Happens If an Employer Does Not Report an Accident in a Timely Manner?

Tarun Sridharan Legal Editor & Attorney Contributor Read Time: 6 minutes

What Happens If an Employer Does Not Report an Accident in a Timely Manner?

Getting hurt at work or suffering a work-related illness or repetitive use injury is serious business. You know it is, and your employer should see it that way too. In fact, the law instructs them to do so by setting specific requirements forth for them to follow. It’s your responsibility to report your workplace illness or injury to your employer as soon as possible. However, some workers don’t make a report right away because they didn’t notice their injury initially or didn’t think their injury was severe enough to warrant making a report. 

Questions this article can help you answer:

When Should You Report a Workplace Injury? 

Any workplace accident or injury should be reported to your employer as soon as possible. Since doing so is a crucial step in any potential workers’ compensation claim, it shouldn’t be skipped. If you report your injury, it turns out to be mild, and you don’t want to pursue a workers’ comp claim, you don’t have to. It’s better to report the injury or accident and not need the report than not to report it and have missed a critical deadline or step. 

How Long Do You Have to Report a Workplace Injury?

Workers’ comp laws and guidelines vary from one state to the next and even between employers, making it imperative to report accidents and injuries as soon as possible. Some employers even have a 24-hour deadline. If you don’t make a good faith effort to report what happened as quickly as possible, your employer or their insurance company can say that your injury didn’t occur at work or wasn’t work-related.  

For instance, suppose you hurt your back by lifting heavy boxes at work. You’re in pain, but your injury doesn’t seem serious at the time, so you don’t report it to your employer. Your pain becomes more intense within a few days, and you have difficulty moving around. You go to your doctor and are diagnosed with a serious back injury that requires time off of work. In that case, your employer or their insurance company may deny your workers’ comp claim because the incident wasn’t reported immediately. 

What About Overuse Injuries? 

Some injuries occur over time and don’t arise from a one-time incident or accident. Carpal tunnel syndrome, for example, can occur due to overuse and repetitive movements of the hand and wrist at work. There is no one incident to report. However, the employer should report what is going on as soon as they suspect there is a problem or they receive a diagnosis. The same goes for workplace illnesses. If you suffer an illness that you suspect arose out of your employment, report it as soon as you know or suspect there is a correlation. 

When Should a Workplace Injury Be Reported?

Injury and Accident Reporting Procedures 

All workers’ compensation claims are no-fault claims. As such, neither you nor your employer is at fault for your injuries. It doesn’t matter if there was negligence. You still have the right to receive compensation for your injuries. In addition, state and federal protections are in place to protect you from potential employer retaliation.  

Once you report your injury, the process of getting the medical treatment and compensation you deserve should speed up. When you report your injury, your employer should assist you in completing a detailed injury report to ensure you get the help you need. 

However, if your employer doesn’t ask you for further details about your accident or injury or that you complete any paperwork, such a lack of action can be seen as a red flag. It might mean that they don’t intend to report your injury officially. 

What Happens If an Employer Does Not Report an Accident? 

Once you report your injury, accident, or illness to your employer, it becomes their responsibility to report it to your state Department of Labor. You can’t report it yourself; however, you can take steps to ensure that your employer does. Suppose you find out that they haven’t reported it or don’t plan on reporting it. In that case, you need to act quickly and contact an experienced employment law attorney who can help. If your employer did not report an injury in a timely manner, it could impact your claim, but they can also face the consequences. 

What Is the Workers Compensation 90-Day Rule? 

While workers’ comp laws and systems differ between states, the workers’ compensation 90 day rule generally refers to an employer having 90 days to determine if they will accept an employee’s injury claim. Typically, within 14 days of receiving an illness or injury claim form, the employer must decide if they will accept, reject, or delay a decision regarding an industrial injury claim.

Who Pays for on the Job Injuries?

If the workers compensation claim is delayed, the employer has 90 days to decide what to do. The good news is that even during this delay, they must furnish up to $10,000 worth of medical care to the injured worker. 

State Disability Insurance and Wage Loss

If an employee can’t work because of the injury, and they pay into the State Disability Insurance (SDI) system, or they have other disability policy through work, they should apply for these benefits to use at this time. The employer isn’t required to pay temporary disability benefits for wage loss during the delay period.

If, after 90 days, the employer still hasn’t made a decision, most states will presume that the claim is accepted and the injury is compensable. Most states uphold this rule. Furthermore, the courts won’t allow an appeal unless new evidence is presented.  

What Are My Rights If I Have an Accident at Work?

Get Help With Your Workers’ Comp Claim Today 

If you recently filed a worker’s compensation claim, you must know your rights. One of these rights is to have your claim handled in a timely manner in accordance with state and federal laws. If your claim isn’t being addressed in this way, it’s essential to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side to fight for your rights. Get a free consultation by phone with an employment attorney consultation by completing our form now. A locally licensed lawyer will call you within ten minutes to discuss your circumstances.  

Our experienced attorneys are ready to help you with your case. You have nothing to lose by reaching out for a FREE consultation. Call us today! 

Our offices are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so we can assist you no matter when your accident occurs.

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