If you are a worker and you suffer a work-related injury, you have a very important initial job to do to ensure your claim is handled as quickly and smoothly as possible – you must report the injury to your employer immediately. Specifically, the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Act requires that you provide notice of an injury to your employer “immediately” or “as soon thereafter as practicable.” See S.C. Code Ann. § 42-15-20(A).
So why is this so important?
- Coverage for initial medical treatment and other benefits. You are not entitled to have doctor’s bills or other compensation covered through workers compensation until you have reported the accident to your employer.
- Clarification that the injury happened at work. Some injuries that occur at work are obviously work related, but many other are not. For example, if you have shoulder pain, that could be the result of lifting something at work, but a shoulder could also be injured at home, while on vacation, playing softball, etc. If you wait several days or weeks before reporting an injury, you open yourself up to questions as to whether your particular injury actually happened at work.
- Most companies have policies requiring immediate reporting of injuries. Many employers have rules or policies requiring their employees to report work injuries immediately. In these instances, if an injury is not reported immediately, it leads to some form of employee discipline (written or verbal warnings; points; etc.).
Under no circumstance will you be able to receive benefits under workers’ compensation if you fail to give notice to your employer of an injury within 90 days – but don’t think that means you have 90 days to report an accident. Immediate reporting is required and any delay in reporting is going to require a good explanation.
Finally, make sure you are reporting your injury to the right people. Don’t just mention an injury to your co-workers – be sure you are telling a supervisor, human resources, the safety officer, or whomever else your employer may designate to take injury reports. Written notice is always the best (if possible, get a copy of any written report you may provide), but at a minimum be sure you have told the right people about an injury as soon as it happens and document the following yourself: 1) the name of the person to whom you reported the accident and 2) when/where you gave that report.
If you have a workers’ compensation injury and you are dealing with problems related to improper or untimely notice to your employer, contact Jeremy Dantin at Harrison White, P.C. Jeremy may be reached directly at 864-699-0146 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and he can help you work through these or any other issues related to your workers’ compensation claim. As always, there is no charge for an initial consultation to see if we can help you.
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.