After you are injured on a job or become aware of a work-related illness, you may find yourself navigating the workers’ compensation system for the first time. What do employees need to do when reporting a workplace injury?
1. Report your injury to your employer.
The first step that employees must take is reporting their injury or work-related illness to their supervisor or employer. While this can be done verbally, many workers may find it helpful to notify their employer in writing so that they have a record of the report, the date and time of the injury, how the injury occurred and other details.
As the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry notes, reporting injuries immediately gives a claim the greatest chance for success. Generally, Minnesota employees must report their injury to their employer within 14 days of being injured or becoming aware of a work-related illness. If you report your injury after this period, this delayed reporting may allow your employer to deny the claim depending on the circumstances:
· Reporting 15 to 30 days after an accident—During this period, employers may deny a claim if the delay has harmed the company.
· Reporting 31 to 180 days after the accident—Delayed reports made during this period may still be eligible for workers’ compensation if they were delayed by inability to report the injury, misrepresentation on the part of your employer or other factors.
· Reporting 180 or more days after an accident—Employees may receive workers’ compensation benefits after an extended delay if they were mentally or physically incapacitated and unable to report the injury as a result.
If your supervisor was present when you were injured, you may not need to report the injury because your supervisor was already aware.
2. Employers must report the injury to their workers’ compensation insurance company.
After making an initial report, it becomes an employer’s responsibility to report the injury and pursue the claim. Employers must report serious or fatal injuries within 48 hours. For other injuries, employers must file the First Report of Injury form with their insurance company within 10 days of the first day of disability or the first day that it became aware of the disability.
3. The physician treating your injury will assess your injuries.
After a medical professional has treated your injuries and assessed your physical limitations, they will complete a Report of Work Ability form to detail your medical condition. This form will outline your recovery and help your employer navigate any physical restrictions you may have when returning to work. You will need to submit this form to your employer and to the insurance company providing workers’ compensation.
Reporting a workplace accident lays the groundwork that allows you to receive workers’ compensation benefits for your injury.