Should I Report My Work Injury?

Should I Report My Work Injury?

Reporting a work incident or even an injury is not the same as filing a Workers Compensation claim (which we’ll save for another article). By not reporting an incident, the individual may create both problems for himself and for his employer.

Many employers have a written policy which requires employees to report any work injury or incident immediately after it occurs. Failure to do so can result in discipline and even termination. Further, reporting an injury days, weeks or months after the incident, understandably creates suspicions regarding the validity of any claim – especially if the individual reports the injury after he is disciplined or terminated for unrelated reasons. In such situations, the claim may be barred by law.

Another reason for the prompt reporting of any injury or incident is that the full extent of any injury may not be known for some time after it occurs. For instance, an individual who falls while at work may get up, dust himself off and feel he is no worse for wear, but the next morning or the day after that, be unable to get out of bed because lumbar trauma sometimes has a delayed reaction.

Also, many people in California don’t realize that Workers Compensation is ”no fault” system. In fact, most “incidents” occur as the result of the employee’s own negligence. These may nevertheless result in valid claims and the employer is barred from retaliating or discriminating against the reporting employee.

Finally, just as all industrial incidents should be reported, so too should suspected fraud. In the long run, this helps both you and your employer. It is no secret that the Workers Compensation system in this state is broken due to what some attribute to unscrupulous lawyers and physicians who exploit questionable claims. By working together, employees and employers can make the system work the way it was designed.

*The above article was published in the March 2012 edition of The Magazine of Santa Clarita ~ All rights reserved.

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