When an employee is injured in an accident at work they can receive compensation if they file a claim through their state’s workers’ compensation system. Every state has different rules and procedures for filing a claim so it is best to consult a local attorney for advice. Generally, employers need to post a notice to employees making them aware of their rights. If an accident occurs, employers should have procedures set in place for employees to report accidents.
Notice in such accidents is critical for an employee’s claim. In Illinois, an employee has 45 days to report an accident to their employer. It can be orally or in writing but it must give the employer reasonable notice of the date of the accident. For most employees, a form can be filled out. Other employees may need to be more proactive in keeping records and documentation of the notice given to their employers. But to establish a claim it will be necessary to prove that notice was given within the requisite time. Even if an employee is not sure of the severity of the injury, it is best to report it as soon as the injury happens. Delaying giving notice may be fatal to an employee’s claim and there is a risk that the claim could be dismissed. An employer may believe that an employee was injured out of work the further an employee delays, for instance. Employees need to take care to follow the protocol of their employers. State laws may be vague as to what kind of notice is required and may dictate the minimum an employer will need to do. Employers may have additional requirements before they move ahead with a workers’ compensation claim. Failure to provide this may delay your benefits.
Note that it is illegal for an employer to retaliate against an employee for trying to file a workers’ compensation claim. There are civil penalties for employers that have been proven to engage in such conduct.
Sometimes injuries to employees are not discrete accidents. For example, exposure to toxic chemicals can take years before symptoms develop. These are known as repetitive trauma injuries. In that case, when an employee first learns of the illness and its connection to the workplace is when the employee should provide notice to the employer.
This article is for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Do not rely on the above information as all cases are different and different laws apply to different cases. Consult an attorney in your area for further guidance.