Many people are injured each day while on the job. Workplaces can be very dangerous and while your employer may do all they can to keep everyone safe, there are sometimes third parties involved who are not as focused on company employee safety. Such is the example of worksites not owned by the employer. Good examples of these include:
- Construction projects
- Large corporate buildings
- Retail centers
- Temporary employment locations
- Off-site workplaces for clients
- Accident sites while running errands for an employer
Whether your accident occurred at your employer’s owned property or on that of a third party, it is very important that you report your injuries as soon as possible. Even if you do not think your injury is major or it occurred on someone else’s premises, you should file a premises liability accident report.
Protecting your own rights is critical. Small injuries can become bigger ones in the future, or may lead to secondary injuries.
Reasons to Report Every Injury Suffered While On-the-Clock
Many workers who sustain minor injuries at their workplace, or have an accident off-site, do not bother to gain medical attention or file an incident report. But in some cases this is a big mistake that can cost you money.
There are many reasons to report a workplace injury. Here are four important reasons to file an incident report right away:
1. Minor injuries can become bigger ones
Although an injury may appear at first to not be very serious, seeking medical attention for documentation and “just in case” is still key. This is because the injury can later transition into something more detrimental or can cause a secondary condition.
As an example, a minor bump on the head caused when something fell from a warehouse shelf can lead to bleeding or bruising of the brain. This requires urgent treatment or brain damage can result.
A sore knee could be something worse than you suspect, such as a torn ligament.
Tingling fingers could mean carpal tunnel syndrome.
A slip and fall may only seem to have wrenched your back slightly. But overnight swelling and progressive problems over the next days can lead to a lifelong back injury that limits your ability to fully function at work.
If you do not report your initial injury when it happens, you may suffer later or secondary injuries without documented proof indicating the original injury was work related. This can affect your chances of successfully gaining workers’ compensation, as well as any premises liability damages.
2. A timely incident report forms the foundation for all associated claims and benefits and protects your rights
You must report your injuries to a supervisor or employer in a timely manner for workers compensation benefits eligibility. Delay can cause benefit denial. Workers’ compensation is important, even if your injury is minor. This is because these benefits will cover medical expenses for a checkup to ensure your sustained injuries are not very serious. If your injuries require additional treatment or doctor’s visits, you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and medical expense coverage. Everything related to workers’ compensation and its benefits relies upon timely submittal of a complete incident report.
Without an incident report, you will also have difficulty in pursuing any other legal action or supporting your own case, should your employer try to terminate you due to your injury or lower quality of work caused by your injury.
3. Not reporting your injury can make proving claims to workers’ compensation difficult
A timely incident report and prompt attention for your injuries or to assess your medical condition after a workplace accident will ensure you have a solid paper trail of the injury’s cause and effects.
If you fail to complete an incident report for the injury quickly, the insurance providers for your employer will use this to illustrate that your injury was likely not work related. They may pose questions about your integrity, trying to make it seem you are just exaggerating. So you can prove your injuries are serious, as well as that of any pain or discomfort you are experiencing, you need to provide the incident report quickly. Again, even if the injury does not seem serious at the time of the accident, things can change over time.
4. An incident report supports other legal action, should you need to pursue other claims
At the time of your accident, losing your job may seem a far-reaching prospect. But it can happen, especially if your injury causes problems with your work quality or results in secondary conditions that inhibit your ability to comply with job requirements. Some employers have even been known to terminate employees because they gained workers’ compensation. If this happens to you, you need the paper trail to ensure your rights are protected.
Losing your job and medical expenses are not just damages supported by your employer and workers’ compensation. If owned by a third party, the premises on which you work or where the accident occurred should have been maintained in a manner that would not lead to injury. An injury sustained while you are working at a location owned by a third party ties that third party directly to your injuries. You may be able to make a legal claim under premises liability, as well.
Any such claim or others to gain compensation for damages related to an injury suffered while working all fall back on whether you filed an incident report with your employer.
In Phoenix, premises liability-related injuries are much more common than most people realize. There are many jobsites in Arizona that are inherently more dangerous in regard to personal injury hazard than others. These put those who work at such places at great risk for obtaining serious injuries that can change their lives. Such injuries can then cause job loss for the injured party, because they cannot go back to work or the quality of their work suffers as a direct result of their suffered injuries.
Over the many years of practicing injury law, Phoenix accident lawyer Aaron Crane of Cantor Crane has seen the effects of injuries suffered at a jobsite, workplace or a facility not owned by an employer. If you have suffered injury while on the job, contact an experienced premises liability and personal injury attorney today.
Thanks to our friends at Cantor Crane for their insight into workplace injury reporting.