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How do I Report a Work Injury or Accident?

Written by Brent Eames

July 28, 2021

Firefighter Benefits

When processing a workers’ compensation claim, both the employee and employer hold general responsibilities that must be followed in order to ensure that the claim proceeds appropriately.  Unfortunately, you often will not have time to speak with a work comp attorney immediately after suffering a work injury.  So, you should keep this in mind whenever you get injured at work, even if the injury appears to be insignificant.

In most cases, the first step in the process will be for the injured worker to promptly report the injury to their employer.  While the actual legal requirements of reporting an injury are relatively lenient under the Workers’ Compensation Act, your employer may have more stringent policies and procedures which you should definitely try to follow in order to give yourself the best chance of your claim being accepted by the insurance company or claim handler. 

Before the filing of any claim is made, the employee is responsible for reporting the injury to their employer, either immediately after the accident or as soon as they are able considering the severity of the injury. Under severe circumstances, the employee’s first concern may be to seek emergency medical assistance. In cases where the injury may be minor, it should still be evaluated by a medical specialist and reported, as the injury can progressively worsen.  

When reporting an injury to your employer, the law in Illinois confirms that oral notice is sufficient to satisfy the legal requirement for notice under the Workers’ Compensation Act.  However, written notice would be in your best interests in most cases, because it will provide undisputable proof that you complied with your duties to timely report the accident.  Most employers use a form known as FORM 45, which acts as the employer’s first report of injury.  Memorializing your accident report in writing should prevent the unfortunate situation of your employer claiming that they never spoke with you about an accident and knew nothing about it.

The law only requires that an injury be reported orally and/or in writing within 45 days of the accident.  However, an accident should be reported as soon as possible.  The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that the employer will try to dispute or deny the circumstances of your work injury.  Immediately after the injury is reported, it is your employer’s responsibility to complete and direct a written incident report to their insurance carrier. You should ask for a copy of that report for your records.

After the accident is reported, and the work comp claim is opened, it will be the employee’s responsibility to keep the employer in the loop regarding any work restrictions, modifications and/or their possible return back to work as recommended by their medical treaters. Whether those modifications are accommodated or not, the employee must maintain open communication to prevent any assumptions of voluntary resignation by the employer.

Find the Right Workers’ Comp Attorney for Your Case

Now that you’ve seen an in-depth answer to your question of “how do I report a work injury?”, it’s time to put this knowledge to good use. Contact a work comp attorney for first responders at Eames Law Group, Ltd. Our law firm has consistently been recognized as among the best work comp lawyers in Chicago .

Be sure to read this article to see whether or not you could be laid off while you’re on workers’ compensation.

For more inquiries, please be sure to reach out via our contact us page and we will be happy to assist you further.

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