Can My Workers’ Compensation Claim be Denied if I Am Late at Reporting the Injury?
It’s critical to immediately report a work-related injury to your employer before filing a workers’ compensation claim. Reporting delays can lead to unwanted consequences like reduced benefits and claim denial.
However, some circumstances can delay the reporting and claim process, like being unable to report because of debilitating injury-related pain. This situation can make you worry about losing the benefits you deserve.
The good thing is that your employer can’t simply terminate your claim if your delays have valid reasons.
So, read on to know these acceptable reasons for delays when reporting an injury before filing a workers’ comp claim.
Deadline of Reporting Injuries When Filing Workers’ Compensation Claims
Workers’ compensation law requires employees to report their injuries to their employers on time. In general, failures in meeting these deadlines can result in particular consequences like reduced benefits or automatic claim denial.
The deadline varies between states, but California law requires workers to report an injury within 30 days. Some cases also follow different deadlines, especially those that involve cumulative stress injuries.
Cumulative injuries are conditions that a worker may sustain over a long period at the workplace. It means they may go unnoticed for some time until they become unbearable for you.
An example is when you repeatedly lift heavy objects in the workplace. The pressure your back muscles and bones experience may accumulate over time and cause back injury.
Now, you cannot simply consider when you started lifting to determine your deadline to report the injury. The 30-day deadline begins on the day you develop the pain and condition, specifically after getting a doctor’s diagnosis.
Valid Excuses for Injury Report Delay
Aside from cumulative injuries, other valid reasons may lead to a delay in reporting a workplace injury, like:
- Your injury results in a disabling condition, and there is nobody who can notify your employer on your behalf.
- Your employer already knows about your condition, like when they witnessed the accident that caused your injury.
- You acquired a contagious disease and have to undergo quarantine for a few weeks.
You only need to prove the reason for your delays when filing a workers’ comp claim.
For example, you can get a medical report from your physician, proving the debilitating condition that prevents you from reporting your injury immediately.
After reporting your injury, your employer should provide a workers’ comp claim form within 24 hours to start the claiming process.
Workers’ Comp Insurance Denial Because of Late Injury Report
Workers’ comp insurance providers may try to deny your claim if you delay reporting the injury even before the deadline. And that’s regardless of whether you have a valid reason for your delay or not.
For instance, an insurance carrier may question a five-day delay of reporting an injury to your employer. They may argue that you were not significantly hurt and thus you don’t need the benefits.
In this situation, you need to hire a Burbank workers’ compensation attorney to prove your case and get the rightful benefits.
Your lawyer will suggest you appeal the insurance carrier’s decision. They will help you file a case in the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and prove that your reporting delays are reasonable.
Get Professional Support from a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Burbank
Late workplace injury reports can indeed lead you to undesirable outcomes.
However, as mentioned above, it’s possible to prove valid reasons for your delay. Moreover, it’s possible to appeal an insurance carrier’s claim denial.
So, consult a Burbank workers’ compensation attorney to optimize your case.