You start your day off with the best of intentions and everything is going great until you pinch your finger while on the job. You don’t think much of your injury and you go on about your day. It doesn’t even occur to you that you should report your injury to your supervisor. You head home and although your finger is slightly swollen and hurts a bit, you’re sure it will be fine in a couple of days. You take a couple of ibuprofen and forget about it.
By day five you’re starting to get worried. Your finger really hurts! It’s very red and it looks like you are developing a pretty serious infection. You call in to work and tell your supervisor that you hurt yourself while on the job and you are heading to the ER to get it checked out.
As you suspect, your finger is very infected and the doctor tells you that you will need extensive surgical exploration of the wound to remove as much infected material as possible. You are instructed to call your loved ones and let them know that you will not be leaving the hospital because you will need immediate IV antibiotics. You’re shocked! How could such a minor injury result in such a serious outcome?
You are admitted to the hospital and within a about a week, your injury starts to heal. The hand surgeon removed the infected area, which turned out to be quite deep. After surgery, you were given IV antibiotics and a course of oral antibiotics to take home with you.
At this point, you’ve been off work for nearly three weeks. Your supervisor sends you an email and then calls your home to say that you will have to provide a written statement regarding where and when your injury occurred. You’re happy to oblige and you get started on that straight away. You have the statement to your supervisor by the end of business that day. You call to let her know.
At this point, your supervisor tells you that there might be a problem with your worker’s compensation claim. She indicates that claims like this are often denied because the injury was not reported in a timely manner. She suggests that you take a wait and see approach to the whole matter. So you put it out of your head and get back to work.
The following week your worker’s compensation claim is denied, citing lack of a timely submittal, with no proof that it happened at work.
You don’t understand! Of course it happened at work. You’re furious and you call your supervisor for an explanation and support. Your supervisor is sympathetic but unfortunately her hands are tied. There’s absolutely no way for you to prove that the injury happened at work. You had no witnesses and you waited more than week to report it. There is nothing you can do. As such, you will not receive compensation for all time you’ve been off work. You’ll have to use what vacation time you have banked. The rest will be unpaid.
To make matters worse, you receive a bill for services rendered from the hospital in the amount of $9750.00. You’re shocked at the amount. Because your claim was denied, your personal health insurance must cover the costs.
Although this is just an example of what could happen if you don’t report your injury in a timely manner, it illustrates the potential disastrous consequences if you say nothing and you assume that your injury is not serious and it will get better on its own.
The take away – you must report even the most minor or seemingly inconsequential injuries immediately. You do not want there is be a shred of doubt regarding where your injury occurred. Don’t set yourself up to be denied your worker’s compensation claim! Better safe than sorry.
*Note – This blog post was submitted to our readers to highlight the importance of reporting work injuries (no matter how small) immediately. The events described in this post did not happen nor does this content represent anyone who has ever worked for CPI.