When a worker is injured on the job, the first four things to do are (1) notify the employer; (2) get medical attention; (3) file a claim with the Workers’ Compensation Board using a C-3 form; and (4) get legal representation. The first item on this list – notifying the employer – is the one that often causes the most trouble in workers’ comp claims.
The Workers’ Compensation Law requires a worker to give written notice of an accident to the employer within 30 days. Some employers have their own accident reporting policies which they can use for employment purposes or contractual benefits. However, an employer cannot use its own shorter accident-reporting time frame to deny a workers’ comp claim for “late notice.”
On the other hand, it is always best for a worker to report an accident as soon as possible. When notice is delayed – even if it is given within the 30 days the law allows – an employer or insurance company will often contest the claim and argue that the late notification means the accident did not really happen, or that it didn’t happen the way the worker says it did.
It is also important to get medical attention right away, and to tell the doctor, clinic or hospital that the injury occurred on the job. Although this is not notice to the employer, it can help corroborate the worker’s claim if the employer contests the case.
Lastly, if a written accident report is filled out, it is always best for the worker to ask for and keep a copy.