If you fell off a ladder and hit your head while restocking shelves at work, of course you would report the injury to your employer. Not only would you be required to do so, you know that telling your boss is the first step toward getting workers’ compensation—and a head injury is a serious condition that could keep you out of work for some time.

But imagine that you only slipped off the last few rungs of the ladder, banging your knee on the way down. Would you have to report the injury to your manager? Your knee is swollen and painful, but is it really serious enough to fill out an incident report?

Three Reasons Why Employees Should ALWAYS Report a Work Injury

While it may seem silly to report every little trip and slip at work, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to protecting your future. Any injury that cannot be fully cured with first aid should always be reported as soon as possible in order to allow the employee full access to his benefits.

Here are three ways that failing to report an on-the-job accident can cause serious problems for you and your family:

  • Delays. Reporting an accident late is better than not reporting it at all, but you can still face considerable delays if you wait to tell an employer about your injury. If you need medical attention weeks after the accident, your employer may want proof that your injury took place on the job and did not happen outside of work. In addition, if your employer knew about the accident but did not provide you with the proper paperwork, you could face additional benefit delays that can affect your ability to pay your medical bills.
  • Insurance denials. In addition to being denied workers’ compensation, your own insurer may refuse to pay for the costs of your injury. Private health insurance carriers will rarely pay for work-related injury treatments, so you must file your claim with your employer as soon as possible to get the medical treatment you need.
  • Suspension. As incredible as it may seem, some employers actually penalize their employees for failing to report an injury on time. Internal timelines vary, but can be anywhere from 24 hours to 60 days—and if you miss this window, you could be facing a formal reprimand or even suspension without pay in addition to suffering a painful injury.

In New Jersey, workers’ compensation can provide medical benefits and temporary disability income, as well as permanent injury benefits for workers who will never recover their full range of motion. If your injury has left you unable to work the same job or position you had before the accident, click the contact link on this page to find out how we can help, or get more information in our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers’ Comp Guide.


Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer