Reporting an injury in a timely manner is vital to your Workers Compensation Claim, but you have rights even when the injury is not reported right away. An injured worker has ninety days to report an injury to the job or the worker will lose rights to future benefits.
You are at work. You lift something heavy and feel a pain run down your back. You sit for a few minutes. The pain is dull but you continue to work thinking it’s nothing but a muscle pull. That night you take a few aspirin. You wake up the next morning with the same dull pain but head off to work like you have been doing every day for years.
The pain continues for a few days.Still you tell yourself it’s a pulled muscle. No need to report it to the job as a work injury. You can handle the pain until it goes away and you do not want to make waves at the job.
The next week the back pain is still with you but now you are having shooting pains running down your leg. Co-workers are starting to notice your problems revealed by grimaces when you lift and the slight limp when you walk. It has been three weeks since you injured yourself lifting that heavy object. Reluctantly you go to your supervisor to report the injury who shakes his head stating he knew nothing of the injury. You are sent to HR who tells you company policy requires you to report injuries on the job within 24 hours. She informs you that since you failed to properly report the incident, you are not entitled to workers compensation benefits and should file the claim under your health insurance and that you have to pay your deductibles. She tells you you are not be entitled to benefits if you miss work.
But she is wrong. While reporting an injury at the time it happens is good practice, South Carolina law gives you ninety (90) days to report an injury to your supervisor. Notice of an injury to someone in a supervisory position can be verbal or written. The notice can even be implied, meaning a supervisor witnessed the injury or had a conversation about the injury with you or a co-worker. There is not even a requirement you inform a supervisor of your intentions to file or pursue workers compensation, only that they know that an injury on the job has taken place. (you have two years from the date of injury to file your intent to pursue workers compensation benefits)
At the Steinberg Law Firm, our attorneys have experience handling notice and reporting issues that arise in the Workers’ Compensation system. If you are injured and are not sure how to go about reporting an injury, you should consult with an experienced Workers Compensation Attorney. Our firm, with locations in Charleston, Summerville and Goose Creek, can provide an experienced attorney to meet with you for an initial free consultation to discuss your on the job injury. Call us at 843-871-6522 or email us at [email protected] with any questions and to set up a time to meet with us.