Why It Is Important to Report Your Work Injuries to Your Employer?
Updated: Jul 15
Illinois law requires that you report any workers’ compensation injuries within 45 days of the accident occurring. The notice requirement is a bright line test in Illinois and if you have not reported your accident or injury within 45 days this can be used as a basis for complete denial of your claim under Illinois law, regardless of the circumstances surrounding your accident or the reason why you did not report your accident within that time frame.
This requirement is necessary regardless of the severity of your injury and regardless of what part of the body that you have injured. It is important that you notify your employer of any type of injury as soon as you can so that if you need to obtain medical treatment at any point in the future you have already taken care of one of the requirements that you need in order to obtain benefits under the Illinois workers’ compensation system.
While Illinois law does not require that you fill out a written accident report in order for your notice of injury to be valid, we would suggest that this is the preferred method to handle your reporting of accidents. That way there is no ambiguity if this issue were to come up in the future. We would also suggest that you that you turn in one copy of your accident report to your employer and keep one copy for yourself so that your accident report does not go mysteriously missing if you should bring a case in the future. Over the years, we have seen many accident reports disappear under mysterious circumstances. You could also consider sending the accident report to your employer or supervisor via email from a personal account so that you have a record of it being sent and the employer cannot lock you out of the account in the future.
By filling out a written accident report you also avoid a situation where you notified your employer or supervisor verbally of your injury but employer claims that you never told them thereby avoiding a “he said she said” type situation which can lead to additional delay and denials associated with your claim. There is no fee to file an accident report with your employer.
Unfortunately, not all employers or supervisors are honest people. Generally they are not looking out for you and your best interest. Depending on amount of time that has transpired since you notified your supervisor of your injury, it’s very possible that your supervisor may have forgotten about discussing your injury with you, however, they may also be under pressure from your employer to conveniently forget speaking with you or simply outright lie about the circumstances of you reporting your injury. Filing out a written accident report can completely negate this possibility.
It's very important to remember that a lot of employers have a very negative viewpoint of Workers’ Compensation injuries and in a lot of situations will do anything they can to try to avoid their employees from making workers compensation claims.
Therefore, the best thing to do is to protect yourself and fill out a written accident report regarding any injury however seemingly insignificant it may seem at the time of the injury.
It doesn’t cost anything to provide your employer with an accident report but it may end up saving you in the future if an injury continues to nag and bother you for an extended time frame in the future and your employer attempts to say that you didn’t tell them about your injury.