Notifying your Employer After a Work Injury
Most employers in the state of Delaware are required to carry Workers’ Compensation insurance. Workers’ Compensation benefits protect employees whose illnesses or injuries prevent them from temporarily or permanently returning to work.
To receive these benefits, workers must complete every step of the claims process in a timely manner, or they risk forfeiting their due compensation. The first step to filing a Workers’ Compensation claim is notifying your employer of your injuries.
Timeframe for Reporting a Work Injury
After a workplace accident, it is imperative that you report the incident and your resulting injuries to your employer. In the state of Delaware, workers have 90 days to give notice to their employer. These deadlines exist to prevent fraudulent claims and abuse of the system that so many workers depend on to help support their families while they are unable to work.
In scenarios where it is not a single accident, but a long-term activity, exposure, or practice in the workplace that caused your illness or injury, you should notify your employer as soon as you notice symptoms or receive an official diagnosis from your healthcare provider.
Without timely reporting, your employers and their insurance company may claim your injuries are not work related at all, and from there work to deny your claim.
Ways of Reporting a Work Injury
The most common method of reporting an injury to an employer is in writing. This is particularly beneficial to both the employee and employer in creating a traceable record, which can help establish a timeline as well as ensure that all necessary information is being recorded.
Written notification should include the worker’s:
- Description of accident or conditions leading to injury or illness
- Accident date
- Accident location
- Injury or illness diagnosis
Injured workers are advised to consult with an experienced Wilmington workplace injury lawyer at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC to ensure their report is accurate, and contains all the information necessary for their claim.
For some injured workers, the arrival of an ambulance or otherwise transporting an injured worker to the hospital is considered “constructive” notice. In other words, while the employee did not officially report their injuries, the employer is otherwise made aware of them.
In some cases, verbal notice is sufficient.
The Workers’ Compensation commission also has the authority to waive the notification requirement for employees who are unable to report their injury to the employer for any reason, such as lack of consciousness, incapacitation, or death.
After notifying your employer, you have two years to file a Workers’ Compensation claim.
Conditions Covered by Workers’ Compensation
Workers’ Compensation not only covers isolated workplace accidents, but other physical and emotional conditions that develop over time. Workers who develop cancers, respiratory ailments, or other serious conditions caused by exposure to toxic substances at work may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits.
Some physical ailments may not occur after a single accident, but after repetitive, long-term practices – like performing the same task for hours a day on the job. Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common repetitive stress injury covered by Workers’ Compensation insurance.
Workers’ Compensation also covers some mental and emotional disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Workers’ Compensation Claims Process
Once your claim has been approved, you will receive benefits to cover your medical care, including hospital and doctor visits. Delaware is one of few states which allows employees to choose their own medical providers.
Workers’ Compensation also includes wage loss benefits, which are calculated based upon how long you had been working at your job at the time of your accident, and the severity of your disability.
If your claim is denied, you can file a petition with the Delaware Office of Workers’ Compensation. From there a hearing is scheduled with either a Hearing Officer or the Industrial Accident Board. You must be represented by a Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyer at this hearing.
Finally, a decision is made within 30 days; however, it can be appealed by either party.
Wilmington Workplace Injury Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Injured Workers in Delaware
Delaware workers should know that failure to notify an employer of their job-related injuries and submit their claim on time may cause them to forfeit the benefits they deserve. For knowledgeable legal guidance regarding your claim, enlist the assistance of the Wilmington Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. We are available to help you file and prove your claim, petition for an appeal of a denied claim, and ensure you are receiving all the benefits you deserve. Call 302-888-1221 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation in our Wilmington office. We represent clients throughout the state of Delaware, including Dover, Newark, and Middletown, as well as across New Jersey and Pennsylvania.