While most people don’t like to think about or even consider it, work injuries do occur and in some cases, these injuries can be very serious.
The United States Department of Labor estimates that there are about 2.8 million nonfatal work related injuries occurring every year or so in the private sector. These are the reported cases. Unfortunately, for one reason or another, there are some unreported cases where the worker feels as though the work related injury will hamper their ability to keep working and therefore they don’t report it.
If you have ever felt as though you can’t or should report or take care of your work related injury, you should know that there are some negative effects that come with that decision. Here are some of these negative effects:
The very first thing you need to know is that being afraid of reporting a work related injury actually goes against your best interest. There are Workers’ Compensation Laws that are designed to help protect you against workplace injuries. Although there are some terms and conditions that apply, there is a good chance that you might be eligible for some payment/ compensation due to your injury. This is something you forego if you don’t report the injury in the first place. Here are some other negatives that come with not reporting your work related injuries:
1. You might miss your window to file for workers’ comp
Every state has a window within which a worker has to report an injury to their boss and file for their workers’ compensation claim. The thing about this window is that it varies widely across states and not reporting your injury immediately puts you at risk of missing it. As such, you might find that you are not eligible for your workers’ compensation despite meeting all the necessary terms and conditions.
2. You may not get prompt medical treatment
There are two main reasons why you should seek immediate medical attention whenever you sustain a work related injury:
- Getting professionally checked out by a doctor will help get you back on the recovery track quickly. Which means that you will be pain free and can go back to work sooner rather than later.
- It’s an important medical evidence when you claim your workers’ compensation.
Without the right medical records within the right time frame, the insurance company may claim that you really weren’t as badly injured as you say you were, if at all.
3. You won’t get to understand the workers’ compensation benefits available to you
Honestly speaking, while many people know that they might be qualified for worker’s compensation in one way or another, not very many know what kind benefits actually exist within that package. For the most part, this is what the package looks like:
- Medical treatment: You will get reasonable medical care and treatment for your injuries.
- Temporary disability benefits: You will get paid some money while you are recovering from your injuries.
- Permanent disability benefits: This is the kind of compensation you will get for a permanent physical impairment that came about as a result of the work related injury.
- Vocational rehabilitation: You will get some kind of training if you need help finding other form of work due to your new work restrictions that come with your injury.
- Mileage compensation: This is the kind of payment you get to make up for the travel you have to undertake in the course of your rehabilitation and doctor visits while injured.
However, every state is different and some may not have all these benefits while others may have more. If you don’t report your injuries, you may never know which ones are available to you.
4. You might not know to attend all legal proceedings
If you are not being straight forward with your injuries and workers’ compensation claims, you might not know to attend all legal proceedings; an action that might very well cost you the claim. For the most part, if you have a workers’ compensation lawyer, you don’t have to do all this but a lawyer will need you to be honest and procedural with all your reports and claims. A requirement you may not meet by failing to report your work related injury in the first place.
5. You won’t keep detailed records
Insurance companies need detailed, chronological records to process your claim and pay you the kind of workers’ compensation that you need. These records can’t be forged without risking a fraud lawsuit. If you don’t report your injury in time then you will have failed at this and as such, jeopardize your chances getting paid.
Forget, for a second, the risk that comes with losing your job or losing your overtime, if you unfortunately get injured at work, you simply must report it immediately. This is for your own good. This way, you can get the needed medical attention and you can start filing for your workers’ compensation. That and you can start working on your recovery so you can get back to work even if you must contend with some work restrictions.