Workers have certain responsibilities they must adhere to after sustaining an on the job injury. While workers' compensation laws vary from state to state and by occupation, typically injured employees must report on the job accidents immediately to their supervisor, or as soon as possible after the accident. If the injury is not reported within the prescribed period, the workers compensation claim may be rejected. Forms required to initialize the claim must be fillout promptly and returned to the appropriate agency.
If the injured worker requires medical treatment, they must inform the health care provided that their injury occurred on the job. If the injury is substantial enough to require lost time from work, the time loss must be authorized by a doctor, and typically there is a two week waiting period until the injured worker can receive time loss benefits. Thereafter, the injured worker must keep and attend all scheduled appointments and keep in contact with the workers compensation claims adjuster and employer.
The injured worker must also read all letters and notices received regarding their claim and keep copies all letters sent and received. Once the worker has been cleared to return to work by their doctor, they must contact their employer immediately. If an employee has a permanent injury, they may qualify for vocational assistance with job retraining and placement.
Employees are prohibited by law from falsely claiming workers compensation benefits. Workers compensation insurers may thoroughly investigate claims, including employing the use of video recordings to document any falsely reported injuries. Such evidence may or may not be admissible at trial, depending on whether it is found that the videotaping infringed upon the worker's reasonable expectation of privacy. Workers should obtain the information they need to ensure compliance with their state's workers compensation law.
Typically it is in everyone's best interest for the injured employee to get back to work as soon as possible. Returning to work speed can speed an injured worker's recovery and reduces the financial impact on the worker, the employer, and the workers' compensation system. Even if the injured employee is unable to get back to their job right away following the accident, the employer may be able to find light duty work for which they are qualified, thus releiving the strain of a workers compensation claim for all.