Workplace injuries are more common than people realize. In 2014, 3 million workers were injured while on the job. Still, some employees still feel guilty or apprehensive about filing a workers’ compensation claim. The purpose of this insurance – and the reason it’s required – is to ensure that workers get the care they need following a work-related accident. It protects both the employee and the employer.
If you’re injured on the job, it’s important to inform your supervisor immediately. Here’s why you shouldn’t wait to make a workers’ compensation claim:
You May Run Out of Time
Workplace injuries should be reported immediately to ensure you have a valid workers’ compensation claim. While laws may vary from state to state, you generally have at least a few days to notify your employer of a work-related injury. In Virginia, you have 30 days. In Maryland, you have 10 days.
If you miss the deadline to notify your employer, you may waive your right to receive workers’ compensation benefits.
Whether you have 10 days or 30, the window to make a claim is short. It’s important to act immediately and inform your employer of your injury right away. Otherwise, you may miss out on your chance to obtain valuable benefits.
Your Claim Will Make the Workplace Safer
Here’s another reason to act quickly when making a workers’ compensation claim: you’ll be doing your co-workers a favor by making the workplace safer.
Whenever an employee makes a workers’ compensation claim, the employer is required by law to conduct a thorough investigation of the claim. The investigation will help the employer pinpoint potential hazards and issues that may have led to the injury or accident.
In many cases, accidents force employers to change their safety protocols and implement stricter guidelines. These changes will help prevent future accidents and protect both you and your co-workers.
You Deserve Compensation
Some workers feel guilty making a claim, but you deserve compensation for your injuries and you need financial support during this difficult time. If you cannot work, you need to be able to support your family somehow.
Employers carry workers’ comp insurance for this very purpose (and also to protect themselves from liability).
If you have a valid workers’ compensation claim, your medical bills will be paid and you will receive weekly benefits. Keep in mind that your compensation won’t come directly out of your employer’s pocket. Your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance policy will cover these costs.
Your Claim May Be Rejected
There are many reasons why your workers’ compensation claim can be denied. The longer you wait to notify your employer and file a claim, the greater the chances that your employer will argue that your injuries are not work-related. After all, you waited to notify your employer. Maybe something else happened in between that caused your injury.
A rejected claim can still be appealed, but it adds an additional obstacle to receiving the benefits you may be entitled to. Each week that goes by without compensation only increases your financial hardship.