After injury or sickness has occurred on the job, it is the employee’s responsibility to start the workers’ compensation process and the first step is reporting the event or incident to the employer. Reporting the injury to your employer is an important part of the process. It is called “giving a notice” to the employer. There are many ways to notify the employer about the injury. It could be as simple as telling the supervisor or manager about what happened, or giving a doctor’s note to the superiors or human resources, or any other way that conveys the message that the injury has happened.
Things get a little more complicated when there is not a specific accident or a traumatic injury. In many cases, injuries occur over time, when there is a lot of repetitive work (doing a lot of gripping, working in awkward positions for extended periods of time, working overhead, and doing other activities that are not normally performed in a non-work environment), or when there is some sort of exposure to harmful environments, like chemicals, unusual temperatures, stressful situations, etc. In those circumstances, when there is not a sudden event that causes an injury, it is sometimes difficult to pinpoint the exact cause or date, or the underlying nature of the problem. This does not mean that it is a situation that should be ignored or dealt with outside of the workers’ compensation system. If you find yourself starting to miss time from work, or needing to see a doctor, either one of those circumstances could be used as a trigger to report an injury to the employer, or give a notice that you have a potentially work- related condition. Without such notice, the employer could later claim that you took too long to report the issue, and that it is no longer responsible for the injury even if it is otherwise compensable.
Once you notify your employer about an injury or health condition that you believe is work-related, in most circumstances, your employer will then submit this notice to its workers’ compensation insurance.
Once the employer is informed and medical attention is received, consulting with a Farrish Johnson attorney is your next step. This will help you determine what your rights and options are so that you could be prepared and informed about what to expect next.
It is not uncommon for the workers’ compensation insurance companies to deny liability and hope that you will “get over it,” or use your own health insurance, or otherwise “give up” on your claim. If you believe your injury or health condition is related to your work, but work comp is denying it, your Farrish Johnson attorney can review the situation and advise on the next steps of the appeal process.