If you sustain an injury at work, the initial crucial step is promptly informing your employer about the incident. Eligibility for workers’ compensation may be compromised if you fail to report the injury within a few days. 

It’s vital to understand the specifics of reporting workplace injury, including whom to inform, the report’s timing, and the method used. Adhering to best practices outlined in this guide ensures you establish a solid foundation, increasing the likelihood of a successful workers’ compensation claim if needed.

How to report an injury at work?

Accurately reporting your workplace injury is crucial, and providing your employer with a written notice, such as a signed and dated letter, is a key step after a workplace accident. Include essential details in the notice, such as:

  • Your contact information
  • The date
  • Time
  • Location of the injury
  • A brief description of how it occurred
  • The specific injuries or symptoms
  • The workdays missed

In medical emergencies, give verbal notice promptly, ideally with witnesses, and follow up with a written document. Keep a copy for your records to address potential challenges to workers’ comp claims regarding notice timelines.

States that require a written report for workers’ comp

These 21 states need written notice for workplace injuries:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas (on Form AR-N)
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada (on Form C-1)
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Injuries that qualify for workers’ comp

Suppose you experience a job-related injury leading to missed work. In that case, you may qualify for workers’ comp benefits irrespective of fault, whether the injury resulted from your actions, your employer’s, or someone else’s. Eligible injuries include:

  • One-time incidents, including those caused by your actions, aggravation of pre-existing conditions due to workplace events
  • Injuries developing over time due to work conditions (e.g., repetitive actions causing back pain or chronic pain disability)
  • Conditions arising from exposure to specific workplace situations or substances (e.g., asbestos-related lung disease or work-induced asthma).

To whom should you report a workplace injury?

Report a workplace injury to your immediate supervisor or manager immediately. If your workplace has a designated safety officer or human resources department, you may also notify them. 

It’s crucial to inform someone in authority who can document the incident and initiate the necessary procedures for addressing the injury and potential workers’ compensation claims. (Learn more on When Will Workers’ Comp Offer A Settlement?)

How long do you have to report a workplace injury?

The timeframe to report a workplace injury varies by jurisdiction and workplace policies. However, it’s generally advisable to report the injury immediately after it occurs. 

Many jurisdictions have specific deadlines ranging from a few days to weeks. Waiting too long to report an injury may jeopardize your workers’ compensation benefits eligibility. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your workplace’s policies and adhere to legal requirements in your jurisdiction.

Do you need to talk to witnesses?

Yes, talking to witnesses is often crucial in a workplace injury case. Witnesses can provide valuable statements and testimonies about the incident’s circumstances, helping to establish how the injury occurred. 

Their accounts can strengthen your case when seeking workers’ compensation or in potential legal proceedings. It’s advisable to collect contact information from witnesses promptly after the incident to ensure their availability to provide statements if needed later on.

Who qualifies for workers’ comp?

Workers’ compensation eligibility generally extends to employees who suffer injuries or illnesses arising out of and during their employment. Qualification criteria can vary by jurisdiction but typically include full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees. Independent contractors are usually not eligible. 

Certain categories, such as agricultural workers or domestic workers, may have specific regulations. It’s essential to check the specific eligibility criteria outlined by your state or country’s workers’ compensation laws.

Have you suffered a workplace injury? Contact an attorney

An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer can provide valuable legal assistance in reporting workplace injuries by guiding the reporting process. They can guide you through the proper procedures for reporting the injury, ensuring that you provide all necessary details and adhere to any specific requirements outlined by your employer or state laws.

FAQs On Workplace Injuries

Workers' comp operates by initiating the process when a work injury is reported to the employer. Filing a claim within a specific time frame allows eligibility for weekly payments and medical expense reimbursement during the recovery period. The system aims to provide financial and medical support for injured employees.
Yes, workers' comp typically covers injuries regardless of fault. Eligibility extends to injuries that occur while performing job duties, irrespective of whether the employee or another party is at fault. The focus is on providing support to injured workers during the recovery process.
Most workers qualify for workers' comp if their employer withholds taxes from paychecks. However, eligibility may vary for independent contractors, volunteers, or seasonal workers. The key determinant is often tied to the withholding of taxes, making the majority of employees eligible for workers' compensation benefits.