By Patrice Ray
Your very first step is to notify your supervisor. The Worker’s Compensation Act provides that the injured worker “shall immediately on the occurrence of an accident, or as soon thereafter as practicable, give or cause to be given to the employer a written notice of the accident and the employee shall not be entitled to physician’s fees nor any compensation which may have accrued under [The Act] prior to the giving of such notice”.[NCGS 97-22] The Act further says that no compensation is payable unless written notice is given within 30 days of the injury unless there is a reasonable excuse as to why notice was not given within that time frame. This means that a failure to promptly notify the employer of your injury could result in a denial of any benefits to which the injured worker is entitled under the Workers’ Compensation Act.
Thus if you have been injured on the job, you should immediately notify your supervisor. Make sure that an accident or injury report is filed with the appropriate personnel of your employer. Even if your injuries are not serious, you must still report your injuries because if your injuries become more problematic at a later day, failing to notify your employer when the injury first occurred may hinder your claim. If you need medical treatment, you should request it when you file your report with your employer.
As laws go, there are numerous exceptions and stipulations with regards to work-related injuries. For example, the notice requirement is a little different in situations where a disease is contracted as a result of a workplace environment (yes—this qualifies as a work-related injury). Therefore, it is important that you speak with an attorney when you have been injured on the job or have questions regarding whether your injury qualifies as an occupational disease. The attorney can explain to you your legal rights as an injured worker and work to insure that you receive all of the benefits to which you are entitled. If you have been injured on the job and have questions about your rights, contact a workers’ compensation attorney to discuss your claim.