Reporting non-serious work accidents is crucial for maintaining a safe and healthy workplace environment and ensuring that appropriate measures are taken to prevent potential hazards from escalating into more severe incidents. Find out why you should work with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. Call Silverman, McDonald & Friedman today in Wilmington, Newark, and Seaford.
A review of the underreporting of workers’ injuries was published recently, and several studies detailed within have found that injury type and severity play a significant role in determining whether workers report their injuries or illnesses. The research shows that there is a positive correlation between higher injury severity and the likelihood of reporting the incident to Workers’ Compensation.
For example, workers who experienced needlestick injuries from high-risk patients, such as those with HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or injection drugs, were more inclined to report their injuries to management compared to those with injuries involving low-risk patients. Similarly, employees who suffered serious injuries were more likely to report the incidents to management. Conversely, workers who had more than three work-related injuries in the past 12 months were found to be less likely to report their latest injury compared to those who had three or fewer injuries.
Why is it important to report all injuries?
It’s easy to understand that reporting significant brain trauma or broken bones is a good idea, as you will more than likely require time off in order to heal, but serious injuries are not the only injuries that matter. Reporting less severe injuries to your employer is just as important as reporting catastrophic ones, and here’s why:
- Medical attention. Even seemingly minor injuries can worsen over time if left untreated. Promptly reporting any injury allows your employer to provide immediate medical attention or direct you to seek medical care. Early intervention can prevent small issues from turning into more significant health problems.
- Documenting the incident. Reporting all injuries, including non-serious ones, creates an official record of the incident. This documentation is essential in case the injury develops into a more severe condition or if there are any complications later on. It helps establish a clear timeline of events, making it easier to determine the cause and effects of the injury.
- Workers’ compensation. In many jurisdictions, workers’ compensation benefits are available to employees who suffer work-related injuries, regardless of severity. Reporting all injuries, even those that may seem minor at first, ensures that you preserve your rights to potential compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation.
- Workplace safety improvement. By reporting non-serious injuries, you contribute to the overall safety of the workplace. Employers can use this data to identify patterns, potential hazards, or areas that require improvements in safety protocols, ultimately preventing more severe injuries in the future.
- Legal protections. In some regions, there are legal protections for employees who report work-related injuries. These protections safeguard employees from retaliation or discrimination for reporting injuries and seeking workers’ compensation benefits.
- Peace of mind. Reporting all injuries provides peace of mind, knowing that you have followed the proper protocols and have taken steps to address the situation. It also ensures that your employer is aware of any potential risks or unsafe conditions, which may lead to preventative measures being implemented.
Reporting all workplace injuries, whether serious or non-serious, is a fundamental responsibility for employees. It promotes safety, enables timely medical care, protects your legal rights, and contributes to a safer working environment for everyone.
Why do workers hesitate in reporting their on-the-job injuries?
Workers may feel like they don’t need to report their on-the-job injuries for several reasons. One of the primary reasons is the fear of negative consequences, such as retaliation from employers or coworkers, or concern that reporting an injury could be seen as a sign of weakness or incompetence. Additionally, some workers may downplay their injuries, believing that they are not severe enough to warrant reporting or that they can manage the pain and discomfort on their own. Furthermore, a lack of awareness about workers’ compensation benefits or uncertainty about the reporting process could also contribute to the reluctance to report non-serious injuries. In some cases, workers may even feel pressure to continue working despite an injury to meet productivity demands or job expectations.
Can I be fired if I file for workers’ compensation in Delaware?
Although the distinction may seem subtle, it’s essential to understand how the Delaware workers’ compensation system operates. Your employer cannot terminate your employment solely because you filed a workers’ compensation claim; such retaliation is illegal. However, the law does not mandate your employer to keep your position open while you’re on leave or have an active workers’ compensation claim.
Despite this, many employees hesitate to pursue workers’ compensation benefits in Delaware due to the fear of job loss. It’s crucial to know that your employer cannot fire you, reduce your pay, demote you, or engage in any form of retaliation after you file a claim. The Delaware workers’ compensation system functions as a no-fault system, ensuring that all employees receive coverage for job-related injuries or occupational illnesses.
What do I do if I AM fired?
Employers usually avoid explicitly stating that an employee is being terminated due to workers’ compensation, as they are aware of the potential legal repercussions and risk of facing an employment discrimination lawsuit. Nevertheless, if you suspect retaliation as the reason for your termination, you’ll need substantial evidence to support your claim.
Should you decide to pursue legal action against your employer or face any disputes related to your workers’ compensation claim, seeking the counsel of a skilled Delaware workers’ compensation attorney is vital. Our team at Silverman, McDonald & Friedman has a long-standing record of representing injured clients, and we possess the experience and knowledge to build a strong and successful claim on your behalf. If you suffered an injury while performing your regular work duties and have concerns about the claims process, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. For a free consultation with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer in Newark, Seaford, or Wilmington, please call us or complete our contact form.
Attorney Jeffrey S. Friedman joined Silverman, McDonald & Friedman in 2001. He graduated from Widener University School of Law, and is admitted to practice law in Delaware and Pennsylvania, and in several Federal Circuit courts. He areas of concentration include auto accident and workers’ compensation cases. Read more about Attorney Friedman here.