Work injuries are extremely common. People get hurt on the job every day in Ohio, and many of these people suffer injuries that have physical and financial consequences for the rest of their lives.
When you get hurt on the job, one of the first things you should do is report your work injury. Many employers have policies that require their employees to report on-the-job accidents, and reporting your injury is one of the first steps toward obtaining workers’ compensation benefits.
So, what happens if you don’t report a work injury in Ohio?
Reporting Your Injury is a Requirement to Obtain Workers’ Compensation Benefits
When it comes to workers’ compensation, the short answer is “Nothing.” As an employee, it is up to you to protect your legal rights. This starts with reporting your injury to your employer. If you don’t report your injury, your employer isn’t going to initiate a workers’ compensation claim for you, and you will simply be left to deal with the costs of your injury on your own.
Eventually, you will run out of time to file an injury report. Ohio’s workers’ compensation law gives employees one year to report their injuries to their employers. If you wait more than a year, you will lose your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits.
But, while you have up to a year, this does not mean that you should take your time reporting your injury. The longer you wait, the more difficult it will become to prove that your injury is work-related and the more difficult it will become to collect the benefits you deserve. While you may technically have up to a year, practically speaking, any delays in reporting your work injury can lead to unnecessary challenges.
How to Report a Work Injury and Protect Your Right to Workers’ Compensation Benefits
In short, if you have suffered a work injury in Ohio, you should report your injury to your employer as soon as possible. Here are some tips for how to report your work injury and protect your right to workers’ compensation benefits:
1. Collect Your Thoughts
Before reporting your work injury, you should collect your thoughts. Take a few minutes to go over the key details in your mind.
When did you get injured? Where did you get injured? What were you doing at the time of the accident? Did any of your coworkers see what happened? These are all important pieces of information that you may need to include in your written injury report. It may be helpful to take some notes that you can use when filing your injury report as well.
2. Document the Location Where You Got Injured (if Possible)
If you are able to do so, you should try to document the location where you got injured. The simplest way to do this is to take photos and videos with your phone. If there is an obvious issue (i.e., a spill or broken handrail), your employer will want to fix it promptly to prevent additional injuries. Taking photos and videos before you report your injury will help ensure that you have the documentation you need for your workers’ compensation claim.
3. Review Your Employer’s Policies and Procedures
Many employers have policies and procedures that specify how employees should report their work injuries. If your employer has these policies and procedures, you should review (and follow) them to make sure that you don’t run into unnecessary issues with your workers’ compensation claim. If your employer doesn’t have these policies and procedures, you can ask your supervisor or HR representative how to file your report.
4. Submit a Written Injury Report
When reporting your work injury, you should do so in writing. Your employer may have a form for you to complete, and if this is the case, you should complete the form to the best of your ability. When describing what happened, be as accurate and detailed as possible. Don’t embellish, and don’t make assumptions about why the accident occurred or who is to blame.
5. Make a Copy (or Take a Photo) of Your Injury Report
Once you complete your written injury report, you should make a copy (or take a photo) for your records. Hopefully, your employer will prepare a First Report of Injury (FROI) promptly, but if it doesn’t, your copy of the report will prove that you did what was necessary to preserve your claim for benefits. Additionally, if your employer disputes your workers’ compensation claim, having a copy of your injury report will prevent your employer from misrepresenting what you said about the accident.
6. Be Prepared for the Next Steps in the Process
When you suffer a work injury, reporting your injury to your employer is just the first step toward obtaining the benefits you deserve. There are several steps in the workers’ compensation process, and you need to be prepared for what is to come. For an overview of what to expect as your claim progresses, you can read our guide: The Anatomy of an Ohio Workers’ Compensation Claim.
7. Get Help from an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you have questions about how to report your work injury, if you have questions about the workers’ compensation claim process, or if you have any concerns about what you need to do to collect the benefits you deserve, you should not hesitate to contact a workers’ compensation lawyer. Collecting workers’ compensation benefits isn’t easy, and there is a lot that can go wrong. You can hire a lawyer at no out-of-pocket cost, and your lawyer can help maximize your take-home recovery.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation About Your Workers’ Compensation Claim in Ohio
We help injured workers in Ohio collect the workers’ compensation benefits they deserve. If you have suffered a work injury, we encourage you to contact us to learn more. To get started with a free, no-obligation consultation, call 888-444-7440 or contact us confidentially online today.