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Work Injury FAQs

To help you better understand worker’s compensation, here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Q: How long do I have to notify my employer if I’m injured on the job?

A: A work-related injury should be reported to your employer immediately.  Failure to report the injury promptly could provide your employer or its insurance company with a reason to deny the claim and argue that the injury did not occur at work. By law, however, you have 120 days to advise your employer of any work-related injury. Understandably, some employees don’t immediately tell their employers about every single incident that occurs at work because they might think the injuries are minor. As long as your employer is notified that you were injured within 120 days of the date of the injury, you can still bring a claim for worker’s compensation benefits. You should document any and all work injuries either by requiring your employer to file a report of injury or providing them with some form of written notice.

Q: If my claim is denied or ignored, how long do I have to file a worker’s compensation claim?

A: If your employer fails to properly recognize your claim, you must file a claim petition with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation within three years of your date of injury.  Even if your employer has paid some medical bills or verbally indicated to you that they accepted your injury, you may still face time limitations unless your employer has filed the appropriate paperwork with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation accepting your injury. If you file a claim beyond three years from the date of your injury, and it has not been officially recognized on bureau documents, you will likely be barred from bringing that claim.

Q: After I am injured at work, am I required to treat with the doctors and health-care providers I am directed to by my employer?

A: Your employer is required to post a list of health-care providers, which are approved as workers’ compensation providers. If your employer has that list posted, and provides it to you after your work-related injury, you are required to treat with the physicians and health-care providers on that list for a period of 90 days from the date of your injury.  You are still allowed to see your own doctor during this period but must do so at your own expense. Seeing your own doctor will not in any way jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim. If you need treatment from a specialist and there are no specialists on the list, you are free to seek out other specialists. Failure to treat with the “company doctor” is not a basis to deny your claim. As a practical matter, however, it can be difficult to obtain medical treatment from unapproved providers within the first 90 days following your injury. Anyone with questions on this issue should contact an attorney.

Q: What if my employer wants me to go back to work and I do not feel capable of returning to work?

A: Oftentimes employers attempt to return workers to modified duty shortly after their injury. Other employers may offer modified or light duty to an employee who has been off work for several months or even years. Failure to return to a job approved by your doctor, or even by a doctor chosen by your employer or its insurance company, can result in litigation seeking to stop your benefits. Additionally, if your claim was only accepted on a temporary basis, your employer may use failure to return to a light duty position as a basis to deny your claim. If you have concerns about returning to a position offered to you by your employer after your injury, it is imperative that you speak with an attorney.  It is also imperative that you consult with an attorney if you are provided with anything to sign or any documentation upon returning to work. Signing these documents can significantly affect your rights to workers’ compensation benefits should you be unable to perform the job offered by your employer.

Q: Can I settle my workers’ compensation case?

A: It is possible to settle a workers’ compensation case. Typically, settlements occur in cases where individuals are unable to return to their pre-injury job or suffer permanent loss of use of a body part. However, many types of workers’ compensation claims can be resolved for a lump sum settlement. If you have a significant injury and are interested in trying to settle your workers’ compensation case, we recommend that you consult with us.