Should I report a simple injury to my employer?

You should report a work-related simple injury immediately to your supervisor.  Notice is extremely important in Pennsylvania workers compensation.

Often times, when an employee suffers what appears to be a relatively simple injury, that does not appear to be significant, they just ‘gut’ though it and handle it on their own.  They never report the injury to their employer.   Later, the injury fails to resolve and in fact worsens.   However, the lack of notice to the employer of the occurrence of a work-related injury could devastate the injured employee’s rights under the PA Workers Compensation Act.

Fact is, some strains and tears in various places of our body, such as the shoulder or the low back, may feel like a twinge or muscle soreness, but as time progresses, the actual extent of the injury becomes more known and the symptoms more intense.   This may lead to significant medical treatment and missed time from work.  That is precisely why it is so important to report a work-related injury when it occur, no matter how severe it is at the moment of occurrence.

Notice requirements in Pennsylvania are clear and absolute.  When an employee suffers a work-related injury, it must be reported within 20 days to be eligible for any wage loss compensation back to when lost time began.  If the injured workers fails to report the work injury to the employer within 20 days, the injured employee still has up to 120 days to report the injury.  The difference here is that the employee will be eligible for wage loss compensation from the date notice was provided, instead of when lost time began.

By way of example, let’s assume an employee suffers a work injury on 6/1/2020.  He begins missing work on 6/10/2020.  The injured employee reported the injury the day it happened.  The injured employee can claim wage loss benefits as of 6/10/20 when they began missing work.  Let’s assume the same date of injury of 6/1/2020.  Let’s also assume that the injured worker began missing time again as of 6/10/2020.  Let’s assume the injured employee, maybe out of fear for their job, did not tell their employer about the injury until 8/15/2020. Obviously this  is well beyond the 20 day period.  The injured worker would likely not be able to collect wage loss benefits from 6/10/20 to 8/14/20 due to failure to report the injury within 20 days.  The injured worker may be eligible for wage loss benefits as of 8/15/2020, the date actual notice was provided to the employer.   What happens if the injured worker fails to provide notice within 120 days?  The employee will not be entitled to any workers compensation benefits.  The claim will be forever barred.

These statutory deadlines are not flexible.  That is why it is extremely critical, no matter how severe the work-related injury may be, to provide prompt notice of injury to your employer.

If you have been injured at work, don’t risk it. Call Mooney Law today for a FREE consultation at 833-MOONEYLAW or 717-200-HELP.  We have offices spread throughout Central Pennsylvania.  We represent injured workers in both Pennsylvania workers compensation and Maryland workers compensation.

Mark Buterbaugh

Attorney representing injured workers and Social Security Disability clients in Pennsylvania and Maryland.