When an employee is injured at work, it may not be clear whether the employer is responsible for the injury. However, in many cases, they are. That doesn’t mean they get reported. In fact, too many workplace injuries go unreported.
Why So Many Workplace Injuries Go Unreported
There are many reasons why employees fail to say anything to their employers when they get injured at work, despite the fact that workers are protected by federal laws from any negative repercussions of reporting. However, most workers don’t know that they are protected. The truth is that the vast majority of workers’ compensation claims get resolved with little problem at all. Some of the most common reasons why too many workplace injuries go unreported are described below.
Employees are afraid of retaliation. Many workers are afraid that they will lose their job if they report a workplace injury. They also fear that, if they don’t lose their job, they will still be punished in some way, either by a decrease in wages or salary, fewer hours, or a demotion. They also fear losing the respect of co-workers, supervisors, and superiors who they believe will see them as a “tattle tale.”
Employees just don’t know to report. Some employers don’t make it clear how to report injuries, or they don’t indicate to their employees that they even have the option to report injuries. Therefore, when injuries occur, employees don’t know the protocol for reporting or that reporting their injuries is even an option.
Employers discourage workers from reporting injuries. If a worker doesn’t feel safe reporting an injury due to a negative experience of another co-worker, or warnings from superiors in the company, they may feel intimidated to come forward about their injury. If reporting injuries is “frowned upon” by the company, employees will often refrain from reporting just because not reporting injuries is just what they do; unfortunately, it’s the norm.
When Should I Report My Work Injury?
In California, workers have 30 days to report a work injury, or they forfeit their right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. There is one exception to this. In some cases, work-related injuries are gradual, the symptoms come on slowly over time, and there is not one specific event or date that can be attributed to the injury. In these cases, workers should report their injury as soon as they learn of their related symptoms. Additionally, they should be positive that the injury was incurred as a result of a perpetual movement or duty that is directly related to the way in which the employee performs their job.
Temporary or permanent supplemental job displacement pay
Payment for the medical treatment you need
To receive the most effective treatment, care, and recovery from your injury, it is important to report any injury you get while on the job as soon as possible.
Reporting Unsafe Working Conditions Is Your Civil Duty
Aside from the workers’ compensation benefits, it is important to report a workplace injury because it could prevent other workers from being injured in the same manner. A job environment should have safe conditions where workers can perform their job duties without getting hurt. Furthermore, by speaking up, others may also follow suit when they are hurt at work.
Even accidents that didn’t occur, but almost occurred, should be documented to promote safer conditions for all. Reporting these events can help management know where to improve workplace safety. Having a record of instances can also be beneficial in supporting others’ workplace injury claims in the future.
Q: What Is the Job Responsibility When an Employee Is Injured?
A: It may be a little-known fact, but California employers are required by law to provide any injured worker with a workers’ compensation claim form within one day of the reporting. Additionally, within one day of the receipt of this form, the employer should:
Return a copy of the form back to the injured worker.
Forward the claim and report.
Authorize up to $10,000 in medical treatment.
Provide light-duty transitional work if appropriate.
Q: Under What Situations Is an Employer Not Liable to Pay Compensation to the Employee?
A:The employer is not liable to pay compensation:
For an injury that was self-inflicted
If the employee was engaging in illegal activities at the work site at the time of the injury
If the employee was under the influence of drugs and alcohol when the injury occurred
If an employee is injured while violating company policy, protocol, or procedure
Q: Are Employers Responsible for Non-Work-Related Injuries?
A: Not necessarily. However, employers do have an obligation to allow their employees to take time off from work, if necessary, to receive needed medical treatment and to recover fully from their injuries. An employer cannot fire an employee for not being able to work following a non-work-related injury if the employee requires time to recover from the injury.
Q: What Should Be Done Immediately After an Injury in the Workplace?
A: The first thing you should do after being injured at work is get medical treatment, especially if it’s an emergency situation. Time may be imperative to secure a full recovery from the injury. As soon as possible, you should tell someone, preferably a supervisor, manager, or someone in human resources. If the condition is gradual, it should be reported as soon as you learn of it.
Contact English Lloyd & Armenta
If you have been injured at work, you have rights, including the right to compensation for your injury via workers’ compensation. Don’t wait too long and miss out on your right to a claim for compensation for your injury. Even if you have been discouraged from reporting your injury by your employer or co-workers, getting the advice of a professional workers’ compensation lawyer can provide guidance for your situation. Contact English Lloyd & Armenta today to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.