If you get hurt on the job, it's important that you understand your state’s workers’ compensation insurance system, since it may be your only means of receiving compensation. In this article, we'll explain the details of reporting an on-the-job injury, which is typically a prerequisite to filing a workers' compensation claim.
If you suffer a work-related injury or illness, immediately report it to your supervisor. If the injury or illness has gradually worsened over time (such as carpal tunnel syndrome), report it as soon as you think it was caused by your job. If you do not report your injury within a certain amount of time, usually within 30 days, you may lose your right to collect the workers’ compensation benefits to which you would otherwise have been entitled.
Many states and employers have their own claim forms to fill out in order to request workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer does not give you a claim form, get one from your state’s workers’ compensation board.
The workers’ compensation claim form will ask you for your personal information, as well as information about the accident. Typically, the accident report will ask you to include:
After you fill out this form, give it to your employer. Make sure to keep a copy for yourself. At this point, the claims process starts.
This simplest way to keep your workers’ compensation claim on track is to keep good records. Keep all of these documents organized in case you encounter a problem with your claim. Your records should include all of the following:
After you fill out your claim form and give it to your employer, your employer will fill out the “employer” part of the form and file it with a workers’ compensation claims administrator and state workers’ comp board office. Claims administrators usually work for your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company or, when it's a larger employer, they work directly for the employer.
After the employer files the form, the claims administrator should contact you within a reasonable time to tell you whether or not your claim has been accepted and the amount of workers’ compensation benefits you will receive.