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Home » How Long Do I Have to Report A Work Injury?

Hi my name is Eric Kirkpatrick. I’m an injury lawyer in Belleville, IL, and what I would like to talk to you about today is the importance of reporting your work injury sooner rather than later.

First, let’s go over what the law says. In Illinois the law tells us that you have 45 days to report your injury to your employer. That’s 45 days from the time that the injury occurs – the date of the accident. If you don’t report the injury within 45 days, the insurance company can easily defeat your claim, meaning that you won’t be entitled to anything.

Even though the strictest interpretation of the law states that you have 45 days to report your injury, there are circumstances that can make your claim look suspect. This is why I always encourage my clients to report their injury sooner rather than later, preferably immediately after the accident happens.

I’ll give you a couple of examples. I see a lot of cases where a worker claims to have been injured on a Friday, but they don’t report the accident. They don’t talk to a supervisor. Then, when they arrive back at work on Monday, still experiencing the pain that they thought would go away over the weekend. By Monday, they are still feeling pain, or the pain has worsened, and now, after the weekend, the employer is automatically suspicious as to why the employee didn’t immediately report an injury which supposedly happened on the previous Friday.

Another example is a worker who doesn’t report an injury because they think that the pain is going to be temporary and go away, and in combination with that they think that they can just report a work injury to their employer at any time. They might think that their employer will take care of them regardless of how they go about reporting a work injury.

The problem with this approach is that it is not the employer whom you are ultimately dealing with to take care of you after a work injury; you are dealing with your employer’s insurance company.  As soon as your claim is turned in, especially if it requires you to be off work, the insurance company will get involved in your worker’s compensation claim and they will be the ones calling the shots.

They don’t know if you are a good employee or a bad employee and your employer really has no way to influence the insurance company’s decision process about your case.  All the insurance company sees is an employee who claims to have had a work related accident, but who didn’t turn the accident in in the proper manner.

They see an employee who doesn’t follow work protocol. They see someone who doesn’t follow rules. They see someone who possibly didn’t even go for treatment and who may have exacerbated their injury as a result of their history of not taking care of things when they’re supposed to.This tends to arouse a deeper scrutiny by the insurance company toward your case, and you don’t want this.

The point of all this is that while, by law, you do have 45 days to report your accident, there are certain battles that you don’t want to have to fight. You want your claim to appear as legitimate as it is, and you don’t want to give the insurance company any reason to be suspicious.

It’s best, if you have an accident at work or suffer an injury at work that you report it immediately. Don’t assume that it is minor, or that it’s not an injury you will have to go to the doctor. Don’t assume that it was your fault or due to your own clumsiness.

Go ahead and report it. If nothing comes of your accident, that’s fine. But you don’t want to be in a situation where you wait a weekend, or a week or a month and then after finally reporting it to your employer, he or she turns it in to their insurance company who doesn’t know anything about you and is immediately suspicious because of your slow response time in reporting your accident.

You don’t want the insurance company to ever look at your claim with skepticism and don’t want to believe you. Waiting to report your injury or accident can be the trigger that immediately gets your claim investigated.

So, while by law you do have 45 days to report a work injury, avoid having to fight unnecessary battles by making sure that if you are hurt in a workplace accident that you report your injury or accident as soon as possible through the proper channels with your employer.

If you need a workers comp attorney, Belleville, IL or if you experience any problems with a workers compensation claim or have any further questions about work place accidents or workplace injuries, please call me, Eric Kirkpatrick, at: 618-239-6070

The Kirkpatrick Law Office proudly serves clients as a personal injury lawyer in St Clair County, Illinois and a personal injury lawyer, coal mine injury attorney, industrial accident lawyer, workers compensation and construction accident lawyer in Belleville, Illinois and other areas of Southern Illinois including but not limited to Carbondale, IL, Goreville, IL, De Soto, IL, Murphrysboro, IL, Freeburg, IL, Coulterville, IL, Hecker, IL, Waterloo, IL, Sparta, IL, St. Clair County, IL, Madison County, IL, Johnson County, IL, Randolph County, IL, Clinton County, IL and other Southern Illinois locations.

We typically assist injured workers and people with neck injuries, back injuries, knee injuries, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, people requiring back surgery, coal mine injuries, union worker injuries, iron worker injuries, boilermaker, pipefitter and laborer injuries, those hurt as a result of construction accidents, road construction, semi-truck accidents, cell phone drivers, discrimination, warehouse injuries. We also help people hurt in nursing home injuries while lifting patients in nursing homes or other medical facilities.