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If you are one of the numerous people who have had an accident on the job you have experience one of two things. One, either your employer did the right thing and reported the accident to their workers’ compensation insurance company or they didn’t. If your employer has notified their workers compensation insurance company of your accident then consider yourself fortunate, not all employers will be this gracious. If your employer has taken a more confrontational attitude and either does not notify their insurance company or insists that they will “take care of things,” then you have a serious problem on your hands.

By law employers are required to notify their workers compensation insurance company of accidents, and the insurance company is required to provide disability payments and medical treatment to an injured employee. The big problem with not reporting an accident immediately is that the insurance company will automatically deny your claim for benefits. That does not mean that you will not receive benefits; you will, but it means that you may be waiting months for medical treatment. If you do not have health insurance you will have trouble getting access to medical care.

At the time of your accident you may be thinking that you can deal with the pain and/or self medicate because you are afraid that if you report this accident to your employee and ask him to notify his workers compensation carrier, then you will be fired. The reality is that employers have fired people who make claims. This is against the law and you can receive large damages for this. Despite this, people’s concern about being let go is real. When someone asks me what they should do in light of such facts I always tell them that they could be terminated at any point later anyway. In fact this happens a lot. Many of my clients have come to me after they were terminated from their positions and they were unable to pay for medical care. In the short term your legitimate concern for your employment will come back go haunt you; I have seen it many times.

The bottom line is that when you get injured at work, notify your employer. If your employer threatens you and tells you not to file a claim or that they “will take care of things” do not believe them. File a claim. If you are terminated for having filed a claim, you can recover money. And if you are afraid of being fired, remember that can happen anyway, except your case will be more difficult then.

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