If you are a worker injured on the job, workers’ compensation does a lot for you. It pays your medical bills and replaces a significant portion of your lost income, and you don’t have to go to court to prove your case. In exchange for these benefits, the law imposes some regulations on workers’ compensation claims. One of the requirements is that you must report the injury in a timely fashion.
Each state has different requirements for the time in which to report a work comp injury. Some require reporting within a certain time frame after the injury. These usually range from 10 to 90 days but can be more or less. For example, Colorado requires reporting within four days of the injury. Other states do not set any specific time limit but ask that you give notice as soon as possible.
Some work injuries occur gradually, meaning that it is difficult to determine the exact date. In instances such as these, the law typically specifies that the start of the reporting period begins when you discover the injury or a doctor recognizes its connection to your work. These requirements also vary by state but generally, the reporting period for a repetitive injury is longer than for an acute trauma.
If you do not report your injury within the required time frame, your claim is more likely to be denied. It may be possible to receive benefits anyway if certain extenuating circumstances apply, but this is by no means assured. It is therefore in your interest not to delay reporting your injury.
If you’re not sure whether your injury is serious enough to report and file a claim, the prudent thing is to file it. If you decide to wait and see and it does turn out to be serious before reporting it, you may miss the deadline and have your claim denied. On the other hand, if you report the injury and it doesn’t turn out to be serious, you lose nothing. The claim is closed with no penalty to you.
Reopening a Claim
Sometimes your injury seems to have resolved only to worsen later. If this is the case, it may be possible to reopen your case and receive benefits again. While many states base the decision to reopen your case primarily on your medical condition and its affect on your ability to work, others require that the request to reopen your case happen within a certain time frame after your injury, up to five years. If you have questions about a workers compensation case contact a workers compensation attorney, like the offices of Hurwitz, Whitcher & Molloy, Attorneys at Law for a consultation.