Workers never expect to suffer an injury on the job. One day might start just like any other, but then a worker might slip and fall on the warehouse floor, sustaining a serious traumatic brain injury. In these cases, it is often necessary to seek medical attention straight away. Workers might even have to stay at the hospital to receive treatment.
However, to get compensation for such an injury, they must first report it to their employer. This can leave a lot of workers facing significant stress, so here is a brief overview of the three most common questions workers have about reporting their work injury.
When must injured workers report their injury?
In Maryland, an injured worker, who experiences accidental injury, has two years from the date of the accident to file a Claim with the Worker’s Compensation Commission. If a worker experiences an occupational disease, it is the later of two years from the last hazardous exposure or when the worker had “actual knowledge” their disease was the result of a work exposure. If an Employer fails to file a First Report of Injury, the limitation on filing may be tolled, or extended. If the Employer files a First Report of Injury or a worker misses no time from work following the accident and two years passes, the injured worker may be barred from receiving compensation under the Worker’s Compensation statute.
However, it is best practice to notify a manager or supervisor as soon as an accident or exposure occurs. The sooner an accident is reported, the better opportunity an Employer and its Insurance have to investigate and confirm an injury or workplace exposure occurred.
How should workers give this notice?
The law permits workers to provide employers with oral notice of the injury, however, it may be beneficial for a worker to report their injury in writing. There are a few reasons for this:
- It is often easier for injured workers to report the injury in writing, especially if the injury requires a hospital stay; and
- A written report also provides documentation of the injury.
Workers may often request their supervisor provide an incident report, so the documentation is corroborated by an individual who represents the Employer.
What information must be in the written notice?
It may be helpful for workers to consider what employers must submit to the Maryland Workers’ Compensation Commission when making their report. For example, the written report of the injury should include:
- The worker’s name and information;
- The date they suffered the injury or disability;
- The type of injury they suffered, including the body parts injured;
- What they were doing at the time of the accident;
- How the accident happened; and
- The initial treatment they received for the injury.
Often times an Employer or its Insurer may deny a Claim based a failure to provide “proper” notice; however, such responses are often inapplicable to the Worker’s Compensation Act. That considered, reporting an injury is the first step in a Worker’s Compensation Claim. It is important that an injured worker notify their Employer of an injury upon its occurrence, and follow up with counsel to ensure they are taking the necessary step to secure their rights.