Often I field questions on what is proper timing for Notice to be given to the employer that a person has been injured at work.
First, what does notice mean? Actually quite simple, your Employer can not begin investigation of your injury claim or even know you are injured at work until you tell them. That is notice. You can provide notice of injury to your employer either verbally or through writing. Either method is sufficient. However, I always recommend to put it in writing. That way, should notice become an issue in your case, putting it in writing makes it easier to prove.
21 Day Notice Requirement: In Pennsylvania, an employee must provide notice to the employer within 21 days from the time the employee knew or should have know of the injury. By providing the notice within 21 days, should the burden of proof be met by the employee for entitlement to workers compensation benefits, benefits would be awarded from the actual date of injury.
After 21 Days: If an employee provides notice after 21 days from the date the employee knew or should have know an injury occurred, then, should the merits of the case be proved, benefits would be awarded back to the date notice, NOT back to the date of injury. By not providing Notice within 21 days, it also makes proving the merits of the case more challenging.
120 Day Limit: If you do provide notice of injury to your employer after 21 days, time is no unlimited. If you fail to provide notice of injury to your employer within 120 days form the date you knew or should have know of the injury, then your claim is forever barred.
Moral of this Post: Make it easy on your self and your claim. When you are hurt on the job or believe an injury you have was caused by work or repetitive behavior at work, tell your supervisor RIGHT AWAY. It is a critical element of your claim. Too many workers have told me they did not tell their Employer because they were worried about their job or they didn’t think it was a big deal. Don’t fall into those falsehoods. Tell your employer immediately if you have been hurt at work.