What Do I Do If My Employer Won’t Report my Injury to Workers Comp?
If you were injured at work or in a work-related accident, such as delivering product for your company, chances are that there was a report on the accident. If there was an automobile crash, for example, there will probably be a police report. If you fell off a ladder, there will likely be an internal incident report. Your boss or supervisor likely already know that you were injured and need treatment.
Getting hurt on the job is what triggers a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ Comp is a system that, regardless of fault, will help pay for medical treatment, cover lost wages, and if you’re disabled in any way, provide compensation. In Utah, most all employers are required to participate in the program and carry workers’ compensation insurance (unless they are self-funded). This allows you, in the event of injury, to make a successful claim for benefits.
But what if your employer doesn’t want to report your claim to their workers’ compensation carrier?
Unfortunately, this happens more times than people would think. Because the number of claims made affects the premiums that companies must pay for their workers’ insurance, some try and talk their injured employees out of making claims, or suggest that they weren’t really injured and that they shouldn’t make such a big deal out of it. What do you do when this happens?
Fighting Back When Your Employer Won’t Report the Claim
The following are some things you can do to make sure your claim is processed by your employer.
First, know that regardless of the fault of your injury or illness, under Utah law, you are entitled to receive care and benefits through the workers’ compensation system. Although your employer may dispute your claim, they are still required to report your claim to their workers’ compensation carrier for processing.
Second, report the claim in writing. Fill out the company’s incident report form (if there is a report form) and make a copy of it. If you don’t have access to a report form, make your claim in writing so you can document all the details of it. It will be harder for your employer to weasel out of reporting the event if you create a paper trail that can later potentially be used to investigate them for workers compensation violations.
Third, if your employer still refuses to cooperate, let them know that “a friend” (don’t mention the word attorney now) told you that if they don’t report the claim to their carrier, that you will need to let the Utah Labor Commission know this. The fact is, delays in reporting workplace injuries only delays treatment as the employee is required to first go to the employer-approved clinic or doctor for treatment.
Fourth, if your employer still refuses to report the claim, immediately call the Utah Labor Commission. Their phone number is 801-530-6800. Their email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, if you are worried about getting fired for making a workers’ compensation claim, you shouldn’t be. Getting fired for this reason would be considered “wrongful termination” and you could have a legal claim against your employer. And if you happen to work for someone who didn’t take out workers’ compensation, you may still have a claim under reserve insurance the state keeps called the Uninsured Employers’ Fund.
For more information, see the Labor Commission fact page HERE.
Ron Kramer is an attorney practicing workers compensation and personal injury in West Jordan and throughout Utah.