How Do You Report a Workplace Injury?
Workplace injuries can happen in any occupation or industry, whether you do construction, drive a tractor-trailer, or work in an office. No matter the type of injury, if you’ve been hurt, it’s important to alert your supervisor as soon as possible– even if you think that medical treatment is unnecessary.
Strict time limits for workers’ comp claims
Occupational injuries must be reported no later than 21 days to seek retroactive benefits– and within 48 hours for any injury resulting in death. Prompt reporting is crucial for receiving benefits through the Pennsylvania workers’ compensation system.
Those who do not report their injury within 120 days may forfeit their right to receive benefits. Furthermore, if you do not immediately report a workplace injury, employers can claim it never occurred or happened outside the scope of your job.
Insurance companies may question the validity of a claim when there is a significant period between the date of injury and the date it was reported. In situations like these, a Pittsburgh workers compensation attorney can provide invaluable guidance.
How to file a workplace injury claim
Different employers may have internal guidelines on how to report an on-the-job injury or illness. If you are unsure, ask Human Resources to verify this for you. In most cases, you can inform your manager or supervisor either verbally or in writing– though the latter is recommended.
You may be asked to fill out a form—where it’s advisable that you provide as much detail as possible. This will make the claims process much smoother.
One of the primary benefits of reporting your injury right away is prompt access to medical attention. In Pennsylvania, injured workers may have to see an employer-approved doctor within the first 90 days. After the first three months, you are allowed to select your own health care practitioner.
Bear in mind that if you report the injury within the first 21 days, your benefits will commence from the date you were injured. If the report is made later than 21 days, but before the 120-day deadline, your workers’ compensation benefits will begin from the date your injury was reported.
This rule underscores the importance of alerting your supervisor as soon as possible.
Filling out an incident report
Even if your injury seems minor– say a sore back from heavy lifting on the job, don’t delay in reporting it. The sooner you document it, the sooner you can move forward with a workers’ comp claim.
What you think is a minor strain– may later turn out to be a herniated disc requiring surgery. It pays to be cautious and mindful of timelines.
When you are completing a workplace incident report, be sure to include:
- The exact location
- The time and date of the accident
- Circumstances leading to the injury (missing handrail, slippery floor, etc.)
- How it happened
- The names of any witnesses
- The type of injury you sustained
- Treatment given for the injuries
Professional documentation of your injuries by doctors will play a major role in your compensation.
Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry
The next step in seeking workers’ compensation is to file a claim with the Department of Labor and Industry. This is done after your employer has submitted an official report of your injury. The statute of limitations is three years.
Ensure that your claim is filled out correctly and is consistent throughout the narrative. Make sure you mention all your injuries and have supporting medical documentation. This reduces the possibility that the insurance will challenge or deny it.
Expert legal guidance for workers’ comp claims
If you have concerns about a workers’ compensation claim, don’t hesitate to contact a Pittsburgh personal injury attorney at Chaffin Luhana. We can outline your legal rights and explain the best strategies for moving forward.
Call our offices if you were injured at work and take advantage of a free legal consultation.