Georgia Workers’ Compensation Blog, December 2015
Nathan E. Woody, CORALES & WOODY, LLC
REPORT YOUR INJURY
If you are injured on the job in Georgia, as an employee, your first responsibility is a pretty easy one. Report the injury. That seems like a simple idea, but people miss it all of the time. So let’s take it from the top. First, what does it mean to ‘report’ your work injury? Tell someone, right? That seems easy enough. Well, not always.
IF POSSIBLE, REPORT IMMEDIATELY
Report your injury immediately after it happens. Of course, it may not always be possible to report it right then. For instance, if you are knocked unconscious, you will not be able to report your injury immediately. Or, if everyone else has gone home for the day, and you don’t have a way of contacting your supervisor after hours, you may not be able to report it immediately. So,
IF YOU CAN’T REPORT IMMEDIATELY, REPORT IT AS SOON AS YOU CAN
In the example above, if you are the last one working, leave a note for your boss before you go. Or, if you are bleeding and don’t have time to do anything but get in your car and drive to the hospital, call his office and leave him a voice message on the way to the hospital. Finally, if you can’t even do that, call your boss when you get out of the emergency room, first thing when your job opens up the next day, or, when you regain consciousness the following week, as the case may be.
WHAT IF YOU DON’T KNOW YOU HAVE BEEN INJURED?
This is one of the most common reasons people don’t report their injuries promptly. Sometimes pain doesn’t develop right away and you don’t know until later that you are hurt. Sometimes you don’t know you have been injured until months later when a doctor tells you that something was injured. Those delays do not necessarily kill your case, but be sure to report the injury as soon as you find out about it.
CAN I JUST TELL A FRIEND?
Ideally, you want to report the injury to someone in a supervisory role. If you work somewhere that has a human resources or safety department, follow up by telling them and fill out a report. Just telling your co-worker or buddy on the factory line probably won’t cut it, unless they are a team lead or some other position responsible for receiving injury reports and taking them to management.
You wouldn’t believe how many disputed workers’ compensation cases we handle where the first response from the insurance company is “he/she didn’t ever tell anyone that they had been hurt”. Don’t let that be you. Tell your supervisors or managers that you have been hurt as soon as humanly possible. Feel free to report the injury to more than one supervisor. Follow up with a formal report to HR if you can. Just don’t be left out in the cold on this one. Report your injury.