One reason many people avoid filing claims for worker’s compensation is the fear they will lose their jobs. Often times, instead of filing under worker’s compensation, employees will use their health insurance for doctor visits and, if they need time off work, use any sick days or short-term disability time they have. However, most doctors’ offices now screen for injuries that happened at work, and if they determine you have a work-related injury, they’ll either bill your employer’s worker’s comp insurance provider or refuse service to you, if they don’t take worker’s comp claims.
This leaves you with few options but to file a worker’s comp claim. But you may worry: can your employer fire you for asking for worker’s comp benefits? The short answer is, no. Your employer can fire you for other reasons while you have an open worker’s compensation claim, but they cannot fire you because you asked for worker’s compensation.
Certain guidelines must be followed after a workplace accident. By following these steps, your claim will be better positioned to be accepted as an approved work accident claim, entitling you to the medical care necessary to treat your injury, replacement of wages and a settlement in the event you suffer any degree of permanent impairment.
If you are involved in a work accident, you must provide a written notice of your injury to your employer within thirty (30) days of the accident, unless it is a situation where the employer has actual knowledge of the accident. For instance, if an ambulance is called to the scene of the workplace accident, then your employer undeniably has knowledge of the incident.
When in doubt, provide your employer with notice of the injury. The employer should then provide this information to either the Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana or the employer’s worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Many employers have a standard form for making such a report, and it’s a good idea to use this form if at all possible. Be sure to keep a copy for yourself!
Employers are required to post the name, address and telephone number of their worker’s compensation insurance carrier in an obvious spot within the workplace (for example, in the breakroom.) You can also ask your employer for this information. You can contact the Worker’s Compensation Board to verify whether or not your employer has worker’s compensation insurance.
If you suffer a work-related injury, be sure to say so when you seek medical treatment, and be sure that you have officially reported the incident before seeking medical treatment. Not reporting the incident before seeking medical treatment won’t necessarily compromise your claim, but reporting the incident before seeking treatment will better position you to pursue your claim.