An injury at the workplace could be highly stressful for a worker. The worker might be concerned about whether they could continue to perform their job or whether they will need to take extensive time off. Whether a worker could continue to perform their daily tasks, it is still important to make an injury report with their employer.
Under Pennsylvania law, you are required to notify your employer of an injury. If you fail to do so, you could be denied workers’ compensation benefits. How you report an injury depends on your job and the type of injury. In some cases, an employee needs emergency medical attention, so a supervisor will likely notify their employer that someone has been rushed to the hospital. Otherwise, the burden is on the employee. In Pennsylvania, a verbal statement could constitute a notification. However, it should be more than, “I have a sore knee.” You should be clear and comprehensive. It is advisable to make the report in writing. Depending on the structure of your company, you should report the injury to your supervisor, human resources manager, and employer.
If you were injured at the workplace and you are concerned about reporting the accident to your employer, you should consult with an experienced Pennsylvania workplace injury lawyer as soon as possible. The Reiff Law Firm could help you report your workplace injuries and determine your legal options for recovering compensation for those injuries. Our firm is here to discuss how Pennsylvania workers can report their workplace injuries. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call our law offices at (215) 709-6940.
Steps for Reporting a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania
There are a number of steps an employee should take when they are injured at the workplace. A workplace injury report should never be delayed for days or weeks as it could seriously impact the chances of an employee recovering compensation for their injuries. The following is a list of steps to take to report a workplace injury in Pennsylvania.
Assess the Severity of the Injury
After an employee is injured performing a work-related task, they should assess the severity of their injury. If the employee cannot continue working or there is a possibility that the injury could be further aggravated, they should seek medical attention immediately. When seeking medical attention, the injured employee should mention that their injury was sustained in a workplace accident. This will help the employees document their work injuries, which could be helpful when seeking workers’ compensation benefits or considering a workplace injury lawsuit.
If an employee waits a few days after the accident, the injury could become worse. This could be a serious issue as an employer may wonder whether the injury resulted from a work accident or was caused by the employee performing a personal activity.
Report the Accident to Your Employer
While it could be difficult to report the accident to your employer when managing a serious injury, it is vital that you submit an accident report as soon as possible. Depending on the safety protocols put in place by the employer, an injured employee may have to make an accident report within a certain timeframe, such as 48 hours from the date of the accident.
When submitting your workplace injury report, be sure to include all the details of the accident. You should note the following information:
- How the accident occurred (e.g., slip and fall)
- The cause of the accident (e.g., coworker negligence, defective equipment)
- The date and approximate time of the accident
- The type of injury you sustained
- Note that the accident was work-related
Whether you believe your injury was minor or severe, you should still report it. As mentioned, an injured employee could develop other signs and symptoms of the injury days after the accident.
It is also important to note that an employee may attempt to deny a claim for injuries that occur outside the workplace. For example, if you were injured while commuting to work, the employee may not consider it to be a work-related injury. Additionally, if the employee purposely caused the accident, this may eliminate their ability to claim workers’ compensation benefits.
To learn more about pursuing compensation after a workplace injury, you should continue reading and work with an experienced Philadelphia workplace injury attorney as soon as you are able.
Why Should You Tell Your Employer About an Injury or Illness?
To receive workers’ compensation benefits in Pennsylvania, you must report an injury or illness within 120 days. Nonetheless, not only should you notify your employer about your injury, you should do it as soon as possible.
Develop a Timeline
It is critical to creating an accurate timeline if you are going to file a benefits claim or file a personal injury lawsuit. By reporting an injury as soon as possible, you can establish exactly when the accident or incident occurred. This will help our Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorneys gather certain types of evidence, including surveillance video and testimony from fellow employees. It also helps show that your injury occurred while you were in the middle of performing your job duties.
Testimony is More Reliable
Memory fades. If you were asked to recall what you did last night, you probably could do so rather easily. However, if you were asked what you did on Wednesday night three weeks ago, you might struggle to recall what you did, let alone remember the small details. This applies to injury cases as well. By reporting your injury as soon as possible, your memory and the memories of any witnesses are fresher. In many situations, it is the small details that could sway a case in your favor.
Links Your Injury to the Accident
Waiting days to report an injury offers your employer and an insurance company a door to question the veracity of your claim. If you hurt your ankle in a work-related accident on Friday but wait until Monday morning to report, it could easily be argued that you sustained the injury over the weekend. Insurance companies will often look to deny or reduce claims. You should not give them an opportunity to cast doubt on when or where your injury occurred.
There is Evidence that Can be Gathered
Whether you are filing for workers’ compensation benefits or a personal injury lawsuit, you need evidence to support your claim. Evidence is necessary to establish that the accident occurred during the scope of your employment. It is also required to show the severity of your injuries. If you are filing a personal injury case, you also need to prove another person or party was negligent. As in any injury case, the best evidence is generally available immediately after an accident and soon thereafter. If you are hurt at work, you not only want to report it, you want to start gathering evidence. For example, take pictures of the accident scene, write down the names of any witnesses and what they saw, and write down what happened while the events are fresh in your mind. Sometimes a work area is monitored by a security camera. By reporting an injury quickly, and contacting our Philadelphia personal injury attorneys, video footage could be preserved.
Your Claim Can Be Denied if Your Condition Worsens and You Didn’t Notify Them in Time
As stated above, you only have 120 days to notify your employer of an injury. However, any hesitation in reporting an injury could result in your claim being denied. This is especially the case if your condition grows worse over time. For example, imagine you feel a slight pull in your back while lifting some boxes at work. You decide not to report the injury or see a doctor because it appears mild. However, after experiencing intensifying symptoms some weeks later, you are diagnosed with a ruptured disc. While you are still well within the 120-day time frame, an insurance company will typically deny your claim arguing that your current condition is not work-related.
You want to report every injury to your employer, even if you think you are fine. In many cases, the injury will prove to be nothing serious, and you will be immediately cleared to return to work. However, in those cases where it takes days or weeks to understand the full effect of an injury, having reported it early will help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Recovering Compensation for a Workplace Injury in Pennsylvania
After a workplace injury, an employee should consider their options for recovering compensation for their injury. Typically, an injured employee would be able to claim money and benefits for their workplace injury by filing a workers’ compensation claim with their employer.
The procedure for applying for workers’ compensation benefits will depend upon the laws of the state and the system governed by the employer and their insurance company. You should follow all reporting protocols to ensure that you have a good chance to claim benefits for your injury. However, if an employer does not want to provide you with benefits or the benefits are not sufficient for your injuries, you should consider filing a workplace injury lawsuit.
The Reiff Law Firm recognizes the issues an injured employee could face after a workplace accident, and we could help you pursue a workplace injury lawsuit against your employer. If an employer did not take steps to protect workers from accidents, they could be held liable for negligence. Our firm could help you explore your legal options for claiming compensation from your employer.
Note, however, that a victim of a workplace injury cannot pursue workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury lawsuit at the same time. The injured worker must choose the option that works best for their situation, and we could help you make that decision.
Does Reporting an Injury Protect My Job?
Unfortunately, reporting an injury does not mean your job will be there when you are ready to return to work. In some cases, an employee is protected by a contract or a union member with specific rules governing terminations and lay-offs. In nearly every other situation, employees in Pennsylvania work “at-will.” In an “at-will” state, employers have the right to fire an employee almost without reason, outside of discrimination and other protections under the law.
If you are out of work due to an injury and your employer is unable to make reasonable accommodations for your return, you could lose your job. However, your employer is prohibited from terminating your job solely because you reported an injury or filed a workers’ compensation claim. While proving that you were fired because of your injury or filing a claim is difficult, you should contact our experienced Philadelphia employment attorneys if you believe this is what occurred.
Consult with Our Skilled Pennsylvania Workplace Injury Lawyers Today
If you or a family member was injured at the workplace and need assistance recovering compensation for injuries, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia workplace injury attorney. The skilled legal team at the Reiff Law Firm is dedicated to providing you with the legal representation that our clients need in their personal injury claims. We understand that employees injured at the workplace should be compensated for their injuries, and we are here for you in your time of need. To schedule a free legal consultation to discuss the details of your workplace injury, contact the personal injury lawyers in Philadelphia at the Reiff Law Firm at (215) 709-6940. You may also contact the firm online to schedule your free case review