Although almost all employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance and most workers are covered by this insurance if they are injured, many miss out on valuable benefits. Why? In Atlanta and across the country, workplace injuries and accidents often go unreported for a variety of reasons. This means that not only are many workers losing out on important workers’ compensation benefits, but their work environments are also becoming less safe. If you are an Atlanta worker who was injured during a workplace accident, it is crucial to report it to your employer. Contact a workers’ compensation lawyer if you fear negative consequences from reporting your workplace accident.
Georgia Requirements for Reporting of Workplace AccidentsAccording to the regulations set forth by the Georgia Board of Workers’ Compensation, in order to be eligible for benefits, workers must give notice of accidents and injuries in a timely manner. The statute of limitations for filing a claim for workers’ compensation is one year after the date the injuries occurred. However a worker may be disqualified for benefits if they fail to report the accident to their employer. It is best practice to report an accident immediately after it happens, but you must report it no later than 30 days. Make sure to take the following steps when reporting an accident:
- Obtain and fill out necessary paperwork from your company or place of employment for reporting accidents;
- Include the approximate time and what you were doing; be as specific as possible; and
- Inform your employer if there were any witnesses to the accident.
Why Reporting Accidents Is Important to Workplace SafetyReporting workplace accidents is a crucial part of filing a workers’ compensation claim, but it is also extremely important for ensuring workplace safety. There are many employers who try to prevent their employees from reporting accidents, injuries, and illnesses. Sometimes their methods even seem beneficial for workers, coming in the form of rewards for days without accidents or injuries. In the end, however, it is always best for employees to report accidents because it helps maintain a safer work environment. Employers are the only ones who benefit when accidents go unreported, including fewer OSHA inspections and lower workers’ compensation premiums. Workers, on the other hand, may be negatively impacted in many ways, including:
- Delays in workers’ compensation benefits;
- Delays in diagnosis of injuries and medical treatment;
- Loss of employment when injuries are too significant to return to work, but there is no proper documentation or proof of injuries;
- A less safe work environment with unaddressed hazards; and
- Lack of proof for employer violations of OSHA regulations.