Reasons You Should Report An Injury At Work
You consider yourself a model employee. You get to work on time; you don’t fake illnesses to get out of work, you don’t make complaints, even when they are warranted; you’re reliable, good at what you do and well liked by coworkers and management alike.
One day, you suffer a small, manageable injury at work.
Maybe you feel a slight pinch in your neck as you’re lifting a box or your wrist starts to feel sore after a long week typing at your computer. You decide that it is nothing to write home about and you keep the mild injury to yourself.
While you may feel you’re doing the right thing by ignoring this small injury, you could be setting yourself up for a lot of hardships down the road.
Small Injuries Don’t Always Stay Small
Fast forward a few weeks or months later, and that small pinch in the neck or slight wrist pain has developed into a much more painful and debilitating injury.
Suddenly, your wrists hurt just at the thought of typing and your neck barely allows you to sleep comfortably at night.
Now, with your once small injury continually flaring up, you decide to bring it to the attention of your employer. Unfortunately, because you’ve waited so long, there’s not much they can do for you. It’s hard, if not impossible, for you to even prove that the injury occurred at work, which may limit you from receiving workers’ compensation and other benefits you should be entitled to.
Most States Require You To Report An Injury To Receive Benefits Promptly
The reason that you may not be able to receive certain benefits and resources designed to help injured employees recover and return to work is that many of these benefits require employees to report an injury incident within a certain number of days. If you wait over a month to wait and see if the injury resolves itself, you could be preventing yourself from receiving workers’ compensation.
Plus, the prompter you are in reporting the injury, the more information your employer and his or her insurer will have to approve your claim. This will make the process much less stressful and will grant you access to your compensation benefits quicker.
Receiving Workers’ Compensation Benefits Is Not At Your Employer’s Discretion
A lot of people read cases or hear stories of employees being denied workers’ compensation and think, “Well, my boss wouldn’t do that to me because we’re friends.”
Unfortunately, it is not up to your boss to provide you with these resources. While they are required to have workers’ compensation insurance, it is ultimately up to their insurance provider to review the case and decide if you have a legitimate claim or not.
Their insurance company is going to actively look for reasons why they shouldn’t provide you with benefits. Even if your boss does everything in their power to get you the financial resources you need, the insurance company may not find enough evidence to approve your claim.
You’ll Get The Treatment You Need Faster
When you report a small injury to your boss, they’ll help facilitate the process of getting you examined and, if necessary, treated. You’ll receive the attention you need to prevent that small injury from growing into a larger one.
Your post-injury medical examination will also provide some significant evidence for a workers’ compensation claim if it is necessary for you to file one.
You May Save Others From Similar Injuries
In some cases, your injury may have been caused by a hazardous working environment. Many factors can contribute to a dangerous workplace. For example, lack of education on how to avoid common strain or injury, poor signage to warn employees about a hazardous pathway or even just lack of appropriate breaks to allow workers (and their bodies) to rest and recover.
By reporting your injury promptly, you could drive awareness about these dangerous conditions and be the catalyst that causes your employer to provide a safer working environment. Thus, saving your coworkers from similar injuries or accidents befalling them.
At the end of the day, your employer can’t fault you for reporting an injury.
They should actually encourage it, as it makes their job and responsibility for providing a safe working environment easier. So, don’t worry about whether or not your boss’ perceptions of you as an employee may change because you’ve complained about an injury.
In the long run, you’ll both be happy that you reported your injury early on.
After all, they want healthy, long-term employees and you want to be sure you aren’t left on the hook for medical costs and lost wages from having to miss work due to your injury.
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