Not all work injuries are gruesome or traumatic. Sometimes what you think is a minor injury can cause serious problems down the road. Your employer has a legal duty to make sure that you are safe in the workplace, and this obligation extends to more than just traumatic injuries. It also extends to simple injuries like falls, strains, bruises, or cuts.
That is why you should tell your employer about every injury that occurs at work, regardless of how serious. If you do not report the injury, then workers’ compensation may not cover you later if your work injury gets more serious.
Case Study: When Minor Injuries Become Major
Consider an example of a minor injury that later turned out to be something much more serious. Susan worked in an office where she often had to carry large boxes of paper to the copy machine from the storage room. One day, while picking up a box, Susan strained her back. Susan did not think much of it, and treated her strain at home herself. After all, she has strained her back many times, and it has always healed on its own after a week or two.
A few days later, Susan’s back pain has still not stopped and her regular pain killers aren’t helping. She decides to take some time off work to see her family doctor. She does not tell him that her injury may be work-related. Her family doctor informs her that she has a ruptured disc, and she must undergo physical therapy. She has to take time off work to attend these appointments, and her employer does not allow her to miss work because of it, so she loses her job. Later, at a checkup, her family doctor informs her that she would be a good candidate for surgery and suggests that she undergo this procedure. Now, Susan has not only lost her job, but she must also pay for the medical expenses associated with her back injury.
If Susan would have reported her injury, her employer would have paid for her medical treatment. Her employer would also be required to let her attend her physical therapy sessions without repercussions at work. Her employer would also likely have to pay for her back surgery in this situation. Thankfully, in this situation, Susan may still be able to bring a workers’ compensation claim, but her options are much more limited.
Reporting is Important!
Although this story is only fiction, it really can happen. In some situations, workers do not seek medical attention at all. This is not only bad for your workers’ compensation claim, it is also bad for your health. If you suffer through a work injury, you should always report it to your employer, no matter how minor you think it is. Then, get the medical attention that you need to address your injury. Taking care of your personal health is extremely important.
Future Treatment for Otherwise Minor Injuries
The workers’ compensation system has developed a method to adjust your benefits for injuries that could get worse or need treatment in the future. They refer to this as future medical benefits, and, as the name implies, it is a set aside amount that you can use for any future medical care. A skilled workers’ compensation attorney can help you craft this type of agreement with your employer so you are protected in the future. Call Jim Glaser Law at 781-689-2277 for more information about this benefit.