The clock is ticking! You must report your injury in writing within 30 days of your work injury in Missouri to your Employer. You can do this in any form of writing or you can use the Division provided form at Report Your Occupational Disease or Repetitive Trauma Injury (mo.gov). You do not have to use the Division form or your Employer’s form or a simple email to your supervisor will work. Be sure to include a demand for treatment.
WHAT WE SEE HAPPENING:
When you are first injured at work, there is always hesitation to tell anyone. Many of my clients have told me they are conflicted in telling their employer right away.
- First they are embarrassed as they feel that they caused their own injury.
- Second, they are hoping that they are not hurt enough to lose work. The employee’s natural inclination is to wait a couple of days or weeks to see if the symptoms from the injury go away.
- Third, employee is afraid of losing their job.
For the following reasons, I am telling you it is important that you immediately report your injury, in writing, to the employer as soon as possible regardless of your fears.
If you are seriously hurt you may lose your job anyway and be unable to work. Reporting your injury and asking for workers compensation benefits is the only way to support yourself or your family, and get medical treatment during the healing period.
If you fail to give written notice within 30 days of your injury, or reasonable becoming aware that you have suffered a work related occupational injury, you may lose your workers compensation case, and jeopardize your rights to all benefits. Although notice to the employer has always been a requirement to getting benefits for work injuries, this provision was made tougher in the law RSMO 287.127.1(2).
Prior to this provision, actual verbal notice was sufficient. Now you run the risk to lose all benefits if you do not report the injury in writing. Why is actual notice not good enough now? Because unfortunately some employers lie about you telling them about your injury. They lie when they say you do not get benefits because you caused the accident yourself.
Workers Compensation is a no fault system of compensation. Even though you cause your own injury, you get benefits. They lie when they tell you that you have to use your own medical insurance. Most group medical carriers exclude paying for work related injury treatment. They lie to you when they say you are to late in reporting it the same day. You have up to 30 days to report it. The employer lies to you when they say you went to your own doctor and therefore they do not have to provide benefits. The law allows you emergency care to be covered by the employer, at least one time. You may only suffer not recovering the cost of the initial medical treatment, but do not lose the entire claim.
These are only a few of the lies my client’s have told me over my 40 plus years of being an attorney. As soon as an employer starts telling you these lies, you know you immediately need to hire an attorney to represent you. To avoid jeopardizing your workers compensation benefits , this you need to swallow the bullet and be brave enough to report the injury in writing right away. If the employer will not let you do this report of injury, email it, fax it, or mail a certified letter of notice to the Employer and keep a copy. Even if they send you to authorized medical care right away, do the written report of injury. If the employer will still not allow you to make the report of injury, you can also call the Missouri Fraud and Non Compliance unit and report the employer for failing to let you make a report of injury in Missouri. That phone number for the unit is: 800-592-6003.
The first thing my office does when an injured employee calls us and is within the first 30 days from the date of injury and accident, we advise them to make the report of injury. If they are unable to, we do it for them.
If you have any questions, please call us for a free consultation. Ron Edelman