Insurance company myth: If you don’t report your injury in writing immediately, you have no claim

In speaking with other Workers Comp attorneys, and in my own experience as a Comp Lawyer, I have notice a disturbing trend.  In a system that was created to provide workers and employers both with a swift and low-cost way to manage benefits for workers who have been injured at work, we are seeing more and more insurance companies routinely denying claims without any legal justification for doing so.

One justification that insurance companies use when denying claims is that the employee failed to immediately report the incident to their employer in writing.  The law says that you have 30 days – but insurance companies don’t seem to care (See this post).  Their rationale is that if you didn’t report the injury immediately, then you must not be injured, or the injury must have been caused by something other than an accident at work.

However, most injured employees do not report the injury in writing – but rather they tell their supervisor verbally and off to the urgent care they go.  If written notice is ever given, it is usually only after an attorney is retained.

If you haven’t hired an attorney yet (call me at (919) 460-5422 for a free consultation), then you can send in your own notice pretty easily.  If you include the following information in your notice, you should be covered legally:

  • Your Name and Address
  • Time, place, nature and cause of the accident
  • A brief description of the resulting injury
  • The notice should be signed by the employee or someone on his/her behalf

Here is a sample letter than you can use to give legal notice to your employer that you have been injured.  Make sure to send a copy to anyone and everyone at your workplace that may need to know (Human Resources Department, your immediate supervisor, your manager, and anyone else you think should have notice that you are out of work with an injury).