“Can I sue my employer for not reporting my injury?” You may be left wondering this very thing if you have become injured or ill while on the job and are now struggling to get the benefits you need.
Whether your employer has failed to notify its workers’ compensation insurer because of a careless oversight or because the employer fears an increase in its workers’ compensation insurance premium, the results of your employer’s failure to report can be particularly harmful to you.
Your claim may be denied when your employer does not do what they are required to do under Florida’s workers’ compensation laws, or you may experience difficulty having your claim approved. In either case, a delay or denial of benefits means you must either forgo medical treatment or find a way to pay for this treatment yourself.
This post will discuss what you can do if your employer fails to report your injury or has falsified information about your injury to its workers’ compensation insurer.
Additionally, this post will address frequently encountered questions and explain how an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you get through this situation successfully.
Legal Obligations of Employers in Reporting Workplace Injuries
You are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits when you are hurt on the job or develop a health condition related to your employment.
The process begins with you notifying your employer of your workplace injury or illness. You should report this as soon as possible, but no later than 30 days after you are hurt or become aware of your health condition.
Once notified of your injury or illness, your employer must then notify its workers’ compensation insurer of the coming claim. This step, too, must be completed quickly. Your employer must make this report to the insurer within seven days of being notified by you.
Your employer is not permitted to interfere with your workers’ compensation claim in any manner. This includes attempting to retaliate against you and trying to persuade you not to file a claim or any other similar action. An employer can be fined up to $500 for each time the employer fails to report an injury.
Consequences of an Employer Failing to Report an Injury
Employers who do not report an injury do their workers a grave disservice, causing them needless delay in receiving necessary treatment.
Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to provide a means by which you can get treated for your job-related injuries and have a source of income if you cannot immediately return to work. These benefits leave you free to focus on recovering and returning to work, not on how you are going to pay for your treatment and living expenses.
These financial concerns do become your problem when your employer does not report your injury to its insurer. Your claim can be denied, meaning any medical treatment you require must be paid out of pocket or through your private health insurance.
You also will not be eligible to receive benefits for lost wages and will have to find another way to support yourself until you can work again.
A delayed or denied workers’ compensation claim can also impact your ability to obtain other employment. If you have an injury that limits your ability to work, even with reasonable accommodations, you may find it difficult to secure additional employment to make up for the missed workers’ compensation benefits you should have received.
Can I Sue My Employer for Not Reporting My Injury?
What are your legal options when you find out that your employer has not reported your injury as required? You may ask, “Can I sue my employer for not reporting my injury?” In fact, several options may be available to you. These options include:
- Filing a workers’ compensation claim yourself within two years
- Bringing a personal injury suit against your employer
- Reporting your employer to the Division of Workers’ Compensation
Not all of these options may be available. Instead, your options will depend on the facts of your particular situation, and an employment law attorney can explain to you what those options are.
It is also worth noting that not all available options accomplish the same goal or work along the same timeline. Reporting your employer will punish them by forcing them to pay a fine, but it will not result in any compensation to you.
Both filing a workers’ compensation claim and pursuing a personal injury lawsuit can result in you obtaining compensation, but a workers’ compensation claim will generally get you benefits faster than a lawsuit will.
Employer Lied About First Report of Injury
Suppose your employer did make a report but lied about the first report of injury it submitted. Your employer may have altered the details of the incident and how you were injured. This has a similar effect to not reporting the injury at all because it can delay payment on your claim or cause your claim to be denied altogether.
Unfortunately, your employer can truthfully tell you they filed their report but not immediately share with you a copy of that report. If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, but your employer insists they filed the first report of injury form, it would be to your advantage to speak with an attorney immediately.
Frequently Asked Questions About Employers Not Reporting Injuries
The employment law attorneys at Wenzel Fenton Cabassa P.A. are available to answer all of your questions. When you have your questions answered and are fully informed about your options, you can make confident decisions about what is best for you.
Some of the most common questions received about workers’ compensation claims include the following:
What Should I Do if My Employer Fails to Report My Injury?
Your employer must promptly report your workplace illness or injury to its workers’ compensation insurer — no later than seven days after they become aware of your illness or injury.
As soon as you learn that your employer failed to report your injury, seek out legal counsel. You can file a workers’ compensation claim yourself, and you may have other options. But you must act swiftly to take advantage of these options.
What Happens if My Workplace Injury Never Gets Reported?
If your employer fails to report your work-related injury, or if your employer reports false information about your injury, you could find it difficult to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.
At the very least, your benefits may be delayed in reaching you. At worst, your claim can be denied entirely. This means any medical care you need would be your responsibility.
What Else Should My Employer Not Do with My Claim?
Filing a workers’ compensation claim is a protected activity, so your employer should not retaliate against you in any way for reporting an injury or seeking workers’ compensation benefits. This includes demoting you, firing you, or passing you over for a promotion. Your employer may not covertly retaliate against you, either.
Some employers promise to reimburse or reward their injured workers if the worker agrees to refrain from filing a workers’ compensation claim. The employer will claim that this arrangement saves the company from paying a higher workers’ compensation premium.
If your employer makes similar overtures to you, do not agree to such an arrangement. Such an agreement would be difficult to enforce if your employer did not follow through as promised.
Why Do I Need an Attorney?
Your responsibilities after a workplace incident are simple: report the injury or condition to your employer within 30 days so that your employer can report the matter to the insurer. You do not need an attorney to help you do this, although seeking legal counsel whenever you feel overwhelmed or confused is never a bad idea.
However, the waters become murky and difficult to navigate once your employer has refused or neglected their legal obligations. At this time, you need a seasoned hand who understands what actions you need to take to receive the benefits you deserve.
Consulting with an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Fully availing yourself of the protections and compensation afforded to you under the law generally — and under workers’ compensation laws specifically — is a complicated matter.
Mistakes in filing your own workers’ compensation claim or drafting your own personal injury complaint can be costly. Errors in preparing or filing paperwork or supporting your claim can mean a denial of your claim or suit and the resulting loss of benefits.
Therefore, it is crucial that you consult with an attorney who is well-versed in workers’ compensation law and employment law.
Not only can an attorney answer your general questions, but they can also carefully scrutinize your situation and advise you of the most effective ways to pursue benefits. Your lawyer can also inform you of other ways to protect your legal interests.
Several of the actions you can take must be started within short periods following their occurrence. Waiting too long to take action can result in the same outcome as taking incomplete or incorrect steps in asserting your rights.
Therefore, it is imperative that you reach out to an attorney who is intimately familiar with workers’ compensation laws in Florida.
A workers’ compensation attorney with significant experience in this area of the law does more than simply help you complete paperwork, though. Your lawyer will advocate for and defend your interests before your employer, the Florida Division of Workers’ Compensation, and the courts.
Navigating the Complexities of Employer Reporting Obligations
“Can I sue my employer for not reporting my injury?” The answer is a definitive yes.
Florida’s workers’ compensation program exists to give you the means to get medical care and pay your living expenses when you are hurt or become ill on the job. You can suffer physical and financial harm when your employer interferes with this process and your benefits by refusing to report your injury or making a false report.
This harm can be compensated through filing a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.
There may be other steps you can take to hold your employer accountable for their wrongful conduct. The precise legal remedies available to you will depend on your situation, and an experienced Florida workers’ compensation law firm will be well-suited to look at your case and identify the courses of action available to you.
To take advantage of your legal options, speak with a knowledgeable workers’ compensation lawyer in Florida as soon as possible. This helps ensure you have access to quality legal advice and representation at all stages of your case.
Please Note: At the time this article was written, the information contained within it was current based on the prevailing law at the time. Laws and precedents are subject to change, so this information may not be up to date. Always speak with a law firm regarding any legal situation to get the most current information available.