One of the first and most important questions I ask an injured worker during an initial consultation is whether or not they reported their work injury to the employer.
The Workers’ Compensation Act requires that an injured worker report the injury to the employer within 120 days of the occurrence of the injury. Failure to do so can be fatal to the workers’ compensation claim.
The law provides that if an obvious injury is not reported within 120 days the injured worker is barred from bringing a claim. In other words, the claim will be tossed out of Court. This is the rule for obvious work injuries.
There are situations where an injured worker may not know the cause of the injury or its relationship to work. In those cases, the 120 day clock begins to run when the employee knows or should have known of the existence of the injury and its possible relationship to employment.
Written notice is best. However, an injured worker is not necessarily required to provide notice of the injury in writing. It can be done orally.
It is important that when notice of the injury is given, that an injured worker states clearly the type of injury and that it occurred at work. It is important to identify the particular part of the body that is injured and specifically state that the injury occurred during work.
Failure to give notice of the injury within 120 days or failure to give a specific notice of the type of injury or failure to indicate that it occurred at work could be fatal to the workers’ compensation claim.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns about a workers’ compensation case please feel free to contact Jeff Mills at Nikolaus & Hohenadel.
I am a certified workers’ compensation specialist and have been representing injured workers in Central Pennsylvania for more than 25 years.