“My Boss Won’t Report to Workers’ Comp”
When you report an injury to your employer, the company is required to complete an injury report and file it with the company’s workers’ compensation insurance provider. The completion of this task is important to the commencement of your treatment and timely payment of benefits. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for employers to either refuse their cooperation in the process or employ tactics to discourage your involvement in the workers’ compensation process. If this has happened to you, it is advisable to contact a workers compensation attorney in Charlotte, NC to evaluate your case.
Why won’t my employer report to workers compensation?
Some common employer reactions include:
- Forcing you back to work prematurely – The more work you miss, the higher the employer’s workers’ compensation costs. In an effort to keep costs down, the employer tries to force the employee back to work with promises of light duty assignments. The attraction of a full paycheck may cause the employee to return prematurely only to find that the work offered is not light duty.
- Forcing you to use your health insurance for treatment – Your employer may trick you into using your regular health insurance provider, stating that he will report it as a workers’ compensation matter later. However, if you fail to inform your insurance provider that your injury is work related and you accept treatment, you may be prevented from receiving benefits later. Your employer may use the fact that you accepted treatment under your health insurance policy to assert that your injuries are not work related.
- Paying your regular salary instead of allowing payment through workers’ compensation – Your employer may try to convince you to continue working and accept your regular pay instead of filing a claim and getting a percentage of your regular pay in workers’ compensation. Don’t fall into this trap. This option will create no record of your related injuries. If your employer decides to terminate your employment later on, there is no proof that you are being fired in response to your injury. In addition, if your injuries worsen to the point that you need additional medical treatment later, there is no workers’ compensation coverage.
- Being dishonest about filing a claim or delaying the report, hoping you will give up your claim – You are under a time limitation for filing your workers’ compensation claim. If you do not file it within the statute of limitations, you could be prevented from ever filing and receiving benefits. Your employer may tell you that the report was done when it was not, for the purpose of delaying the report until the statute of limitations expires. If time passes without receipt of any documents or communications directly from the workers’ compensation insurance company, assume that your employer did not report your injury.
- Working in collusion with the company doctor to downplay your injuries – When you file workers’ compensation claim, your employer will likely require that you see the company’s doctor. While you shouldn’t automatically assume that the physician is being dishonest, there are documented occurrences of employers acting in collusion with the doctor to downplay the seriousness of your injuries. The purpose behind this tactic is to minimize your amount of treatment and keep you from receiving lost wage compensation.
- Threatening retaliation if you file the claim – Employers sometimes threaten to fire or punish employees for filing a workers’ compensation claim. Don’t give in to the threats. Remember that It is against the law for your employer to fire you for a workers’ compensation claim. Also, there is no guarantee that your employer will not retaliate against you even if you do not file a claim, in which case you have no documented proof of your work related injuries. In addition, it your employment is terminated, you may have a hard time finding a new job due to your injuries.
If your employer does not report your injury to workers’ compensation, you still have other options available to document your injuries and start the claim process. In the state of North Carolina, employers are required to provide you with a claim form to complete and submit to the state. However, if your employer does not provide this form, you can obtain one from the North Carolina Industrial Commission and file it directly with the state.
If your employer remains uncooperative, the assistance of a workers’ compensation attorney may prove useful.