It’s in Your Own Best Interest to Report Workplace Accidents—Every Single One, Every Time
When injured at work, you may sometimes be uncertain whether your injury is severe enough to report to your boss. Here’s our take: it doesn’t matter if the injury was a tiny cut, a full-blown broken ankle, or a life-threatening emergency; you need to report it, and you need to report it immediately.
Reporting Your Injury—Why?
Telling your employer about a workplace accident isn’t only considerate, but it is essential to protect your interests, even if the resulting injuries are minor. Informing your boss is a key early step in preserving your Texas workers’ compensation rights. There are also a couple more important reasons why you should report your injury promptly:
- It shows consideration for your employer and coworkers. Your employer should be kept informed of any injury so that workplace hazards can be eliminated to prevent further incidents. By knowing what happened and how it happened, your employer can help keep you and your coworkers safe from further harm.
- It protects your self-interest. Minor injuries can always worsen over time. If you don’t take the necessary steps to report your injuries when they occur, your employer can use your delay against you. Since you didn’t report the initial injury, he can infer that the injury wasn’t a result of work, and therefore not eligible for workers’ compensation.
Be sure that you keep a copy of your written report for your own records. Hopefully, your injury heals, and your workplace is made a bit safer in the meantime. However, if your condition worsens, you have the documentation to prove that your injury originally occurred at work and that your supervisor was informed.
Reporting Your Injury—When?
In Texas, you must notify your employer within 30 days of the date you were injured or when you realized that your condition might be work-related. If you report your injury outside of that 30-day window, you may forfeit your right to apply for workers’ compensation benefits—at the very least, it will be difficult to prove your injuries are eligible for the benefits.
Employers also have an obligation to file an incident report within a specified time. They must file your claim with their insurance company within seven days of your initial report of the incident. If your employer fails to meet this deadline, he may not be able to dispute your claim or request an independent medical examination. He may even face fines from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
After reporting your injury to your employer, be sure to send a completed DWC Form-041 (Employee’s Claim for Compensation for a Work-Related Injury or Occupational Disease) to the Texas Department of Insurance to protect your rights.
Pursuing Your Injury Claim—How?
If you believe that your report is not being handled appropriately by your employer, you may want to contact an attorney with experience in workers’ compensation law. Attorney Steve Lee is here to ensure fair treatment, while he helps you better understand your rights and obligations as an injured employee. Don’t allow your employer or his insurance company to take advantage of you; call Steve Lee today and see what he can do for you.
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