“How long do I have to report a workplace accident or occupational illness to my employer?”
Between learning how to complete everyday tasks, complying with the rules, and navigating the workplace, most employees do not anticipate getting hurt while at work. Nevertheless, knowing what to do in the event of a workplace injury can empower workers to receive the compensation they need faster than if they were unfamiliar with the process.
And it all starts with reporting the accident, injury or illness.
Reporting a workplace injury In Georgia
How long do you have to report a workplace accident or occupational illness to my employer?
Georgia law requires injured workers to notify their employer within 30 days of the date of injury.
Some employers may mislead workers by telling them they have less than 30 days to file a report. This is untrue. While it is always best to notify the employer as soon as possible, a worker may technically report his or her injury on the 29th day before the 30-day notice period expires.
Although the time limit is set at 30 days, it is always best to inform the employer immediately since any delay can raise questions and increase the odds of your claim being contested. If you are injured, you can comply with this notice requirement by reporting the injury to your immediate supervisor, your foreman, or your employer’s HR representative.
Your employer may have a specific claims form it uses to begin the workers’ compensation process. However, Georgia law does not require you to give notice in writing. If you do notify your employer in writing, be sure to make a copy of the report and keep it for your records.
When reporting an accident or injury, be sure to include the following details:
- Date and time the incident that caused the injury took place
- Where you were located when the injury occurred
- What you were doing when you were injured
- Symptoms you noticed that made you aware of the injury
- Body parts affected by the injury
- The names of coworkers who witnessed the incident that caused the injury
Injured employees who require extensive medical treatment may become less available to reach out to their employer during business hours once his or her treatment schedule begins. We understand that life can interfere with an employee’s good intentions of reporting an injury and providing timely notice to their employer.
At Gerber & Holder, our Georgia attorneys can help ensure your responsibilities and duties are fulfilled, and dispute contested claims due to delayed employer notice.
What happens if you don’t report the injury within 30 days?
Failure to report your injury within 30 days may cause you to forfeit your right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. In some cases, there may be a legal exception granted. Otherwise, you may be required to seek remedy in civil court.
Employees who do not report their workplace injury within 30 days should immediately contact our Atlanta workers’ compensation law firm to receive a free case evaluation and discuss potential next steps.
Workers’ comp investigation after reporting an injury
After you provide notice of your injury, your employer or their insurance company may conduct an investigation to determine the details surrounding the incident. In addition to examining how the injury took place, investigators may also evaluate whether the workplace needs additional safety policies and procedures to prevent future injuries.
In general, your actions at the time of the incident will typically have no bearing on whether you may receive workers’ compensation benefits since it is a no-fault system, meaning you are generally owed compensation regardless of who was at fault.
One exception is if your employer finds that your injury was the result of your misconduct, in which case the claim may be contested or denied. Examples of misconduct include:
- Intentional self-inflicted injury
- Sustaining an injury while attempting to injure someone else
- Willful failure or refusal to use safety equipment
- Willful failure or refusal to perform a duty required by the law
Workers who are found to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the injury may also be barred from receiving workers’ compensation benefits. Your employer may administer a post-accident drug test to determine whether drugs may have played a role.
Legal advice and representation for injured workers in Georgia
The workers’ compensation process may be simple and straightforward for some employees; however, that’s unfortunately not the case for many injured workers in Georgia. Our attorneys can help answer questions you have about your workplace injury, such as:
- How long do I have to report a workplace injury?
- What compensation am I entitled to?
- What if my benefits were stopped or denied?
Contact us today to learn about your workers’ compensation rights and other legal remedies that exist to safeguard the rights of injured workers. Your initial case evaluation is free, and you can count on us to keep your information confidential.