One of the most important things any injured worker can do is to make sure his or her workplace accident or work-related illness is promptly reported to his or her employer and a claim is filed for workers’ compensation as soon as possible following the incident.
According to a recent news article from Business Insurance, it is not only injured employees who can benefit from timely reporting, as this timeliness of claims should also be important to employers. Experts say that encouraging employees to immediately file accident and injury reports can help keep their costs down. However, these same experts warn employers there should never been an employer-controlled penalty for failing to file a workers’ compensation claim in a timely manner. If there is a state statute of limitations on how long a worker can wait to file a workers’ compensation claim, then the state statute, and not an employer’s policy, should dictate any penalty, including dismissal of a claim.
As our Spartanburg workers’ compensation attorneys can explain, in the state of South Carolina, all work-related injuries and illnesses must be reported within 90 days from the date of the injury or diagnosis of an illness, but you can technically wait up to two years to actually file a claim for benefits. However, even with the extended period of time to file a report and file a claim for benefits, it is best to do so as soon as possible.
There are a variety of reasons it is in your best interest to avoid any unnecessary delay, because even though you can wait up to 90 days to file an on-the-job accident report, it may be much more difficult to prove when nearly three months have passed. It is much better to have a supervisor generate the report immediately, and get names of witnesses and take their statements while they are easy to identify and the events are freshest in their minds. If you wait too long, the company may not even employ some of the workers by the time you make such a report. It will be harder to prove the injury was work-related in cases where employee waits months to file a report.
Another issue that can arise from waiting too long to file is that the injury can become worse without proper treatment, and this can, in turn, harm the workers and ultimately cost the company more if workers’ compensation benefits are eventually given. Experts say the last thing an employer wants is a policy in place whereby workers are afraid to report an injury or illness for fear they missed the deadline. Even if the original injury was not covered, the development of a much more serious work-related injury later may be compensable, and this will result in employer having to pay for more radical treatment if the same complaint had been filed earlier.
This is no small issue. Research suggests the cost to workers’ compensation insurance companies (payees) has risen by as much as 51 percent due to late reporting of on-the-job injuries and illnesses.
If you have been injured at work, contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
IN REPORTING WORKPLACE INJURIES, TIMING CRUCIAL, June 7, 2015, Business In ance
More Blog Entries:
Bike v. Johnson & Johnson Health Care – Workers’ Comp Benefits in Spite of Underlying Injury, March 28, 2015, Anderson Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog