Workplace Injuries: Why Immediate Reporting Is Crucial (Even When It Doesn't Seem So Serious)
Most worker's compensation claims follow a fairly standard sequence of events. The injury is sustained and reported, medical treatment is sought (as needed), and a claim for compensation is made. But the human body doesn't always stick to this sequence of events, or at least it doesn't always stick to a specific time frame. What happens when you injure yourself at work and your injuries don't become evident until weeks, or even months, later? While an injury might not seem all that serious, you can't rule out the possibility that its severity won't become obvious until a later date. This is why efficient reporting of any workplace injury is vital.
Even if the accident did not appear to be serious, immediately reporting it has two important benefits.
It helps to safeguard your ability to make a compensation claim at a later stage if injuries are slow to become evident.
Your employer can take action to ensure the accident doesn't happen again, perhaps by amending their safety measures and general procedures relating to the activity that was being performed at the time of the accident.
Some companies will have a predetermined procedure for reporting an accident. This might not be the case with smaller companies. In this instance, you should submit a brief report to your employer. You might also wish to verbally inform them. Writing an email is ideal, as it creates an electronic copy of your report on the date of the accident. It doesn't need to be extensive and can simply entail the date and time of the accident and its general circumstances. To only verbally report the accident means that you might need to rely upon your own recollection of the conversation (and that of your employers) if you should make a claim at a later stage.
Failure to Report
Not immediately reporting an accident can make it complicated to lodge a claim in the following weeks or months. It could be suggested that your injuries have resulted from another accident that was sustained outside of working hours. This is why creating a record of the accident on the date it occured is vital.
Making a Claim at a Later Stage
When injuries are not immediately obvious, your reporting of the accident will ideally create a clear link between your injuries and the workplace accident. This might need to be verified by a medical professional, and you can also enlist the services of a workers compensation lawyer if the matter is disputed by your employer.
The extent of your injuries are not always clear after a workplace accident. Accurate and immediate reporting of the accident can strengthen a compensation claim that needs to be made later.