Spencer Law Group
Don’t Wait, Report Your Injury Promptly
Have you ever had a friend who, no matter what happened, always viewed the situation in the most negative light? That person could win the lottery, and their first thought is about the taxes they will owe on their windfall. If they drove a Lamborghini, all they would do is complain about gas mileage. Those might be extreme examples, but that’s exactly how insurance companies will view claims, and the most negative fashion possible. If they can find anything to deny claim, they will jump all over the opportunity to do so. Because of that attitude, you cannot give them any extra reason to deny your claim. You must report your injury as soon as it happens.
While reporting your injury as soon as it happens might seem like a no-brainer when you see it in writing, in the real world there are often things that get in the way of doing so. There might be a good reason for not immediately reporting your injury, but the insurance company will not care at all about your legitimate reason. One of the most common reasons for not reporting an injury is the person does not realize he or she is truly injured until the pain gets worse or does not go away as soon as they would expect. In this situation, we recommend reporting any injury immediately to your supervisor. If your symptoms quickly resolved, there is no need to pursue the claim further. If the symptoms continue or worsen, you should be on solid ground having notified your supervisor immediately.
There are some special circumstances such as factory workers before plant shutdowns, over the road truckers and shipping drivers. If you have an injury before a plant shutdown or planned vacation, make sure you reported before the layoff. Reporting a work injury after you have been away from work for any time will raise red flags for both your employer and their insurance carrier. They will quickly perform an investigation and come to the conclusion that the injury must have occurred away from work and deny your claim. Similarly, the very nature of truck driving jobs has you away from a physical plant location and supervision. For that reason, it is especially important to immediately report any work injury and make sure the injury is documented with completion of any accident forms and/or text or emails to your supervisor documenting the work injury. Documenting any work injury with a text or email to your supervisor is always a good idea so that they can’t later claim the injury was never reported.
Finally, when seeking medical treatment for the injury. Make sure to give a detailed history of how and where the injury occurred. If you have a history of injury to that same body part prior to the new injury, make sure you tell the medical professional how this new injury is different from any previous injury. For example, if you injure your back but you also had a back injury 10 years ago, you need to let the medical professional know how your symptoms have changed due to the new injury. Of course, if that prior injury resolved after treatment and you were able to get back to normal make sure you tell that to the doctor. You can have an injury to the same body part that you have prior issues with, but the new injury has to cause a change in diagnosis or symptoms.
In summary, do not give the insurance carrier any reason to deny your claim for failing to report it immediately. The insurance companies do not need any additional help in finding ways to deny your claim. Make sure you report your injuries immediately and the reporting of the injury is documented either by accident form, text message or email. Only telling your co-worker you got hurt at work or relying on your supervisor to tell the truth during litigation might not be enough to win your claim. As the kids now say, you have to show them the receipts.