No matter how small or insignificant an on the job injury may first seem, always fill out a workers comp accident report. Always. If you requested your employer to file an accident report (something you are most definitely entitled to) please do not simply stop there. There are options you can take with the State of Florida, and no employer will be able to get around their protocols. Once the state is made aware of the situation and has gotten involved, the best way is to make sure that accident reports are timely filed.
We gathered these 5 good reasons below:
1. TIMING: As in most things in life, timing is everything. Don’t risk getting facts incorrect by waiting too long to file, or simply even telling someone about an accident. You or any eyewitness could forget what really took place after some significant amount of time has passed. Also, after too long, memories fade and when eyewitnesses, or even yourself, talk about it with others so many times facts could be blurred by things you have heard or by your feelings or other personal agendas.
2. PREVENTION: An important and simple benefit from filing an accident report is so the entire staff and leadership can be made aware of the risk and plan ahead to prevent something like it occurring again in the future. If you are silent and nothing is ever reported, no preventative action can be expected to make sure it doesn’t happen to someone else. An obvious example of this is slippery floors. It is a pretty easy thing to do to change how or when floors are mopped to ensure there are no slips or falls. If no one speaks up about slipping every morning from fresh mopped floors then nothing will probably ever be done to improve a basic safety measure. Seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Here’s an incentivizing fact: if leadership knows about an issue and STILL makes no changes or efforts to improve safety, it is their responsibility next time…
3. INJURY: Just because it doesn’t hurt now, or there’s no real symptom of an injury immediately doesn’t mean it won’t creep up on you. If you are lifting crates on the job and hurt your back, but for whatever reason (ego, stubornness, or you think it’s just a pulled muscle) you don’t report it, then it may be harder to connect the dots when you’re bed-ridden days or weeks later. If you need to take any time off from work you will want to have some sort of incident report filed. Paperwork is a big deal! Don’t run the risk of taking days, let alone weeks, off from your job due to an injury if you have no paper trail or solid way to prove or justify the time away. By the time you’re fit to return you may not have a job waiting for you.
4. DETAILS: The TRUTH will set you free. Another benefit from reporting an incident right away is to get accurate details recorded. Before any eyewitnesses start talking with each other, or remembering that they never really liked you anyway, we’re all more likely to be truthful and unbiased immediately after an incident. In regards to policy, more than likely, within a company with high standards of ethics in regards to policy, no one really feels there’s an angle to work or any reason to speak anything other than the utmost truth. Once there’s a truthful, consistent record of an accident or injury sustained while on the job, it will be used as the “true north” later on for leadership and any legal representation that is needed.
5. CONSEQUENCE: Whoever is responsible for the accident and injury, be it a fellow employee, an overlooked safety risk by corporate, etc… there needs to be an actionable standard practice consequence. Most businesses have this type of protocol at an HR level. If you contact an attorney to report an incident, because your employer is either not filing the accident report or there doesn’t seem to be any progress or urgency with the report they have filed, any attorney is going to ask you if you filed a report. Can we see the report you filed for the accident? Without any legal paper trail, it makes our jobs that much harder because it potentially is a “He said, She said” territory. Don’t risk an accident going unresolved as it can be harmful to not only the injured party but also fellow employees who just might have a harder road to travel when it’s their turn to ride in the back of an ambulance.
If your employer will not report your accident to the insurance company, you should call 1-800-342-1741. This is the toll-free number to the State of Florida where you can report your accident. The State will then make sure that it is reported to the proper insurance company. For more helpful insight about your rights in and out of the workplace be sure to follow our BLOG regularly, and keep up with us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. If you have any questions or need counsel about a recent work related injury please call us at 407.841.7699.