As long as you were not doing anything illegal, your injury is covered. So, do not hesitate to report your injury—even if you feel it may be your fault. Job-related illnesses that occur over time such as mesothelioma and repetitive trauma injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome must be reported as soon as a diagnosis has been obtained and you learn that the injury or condition is related to your employment.
It is extremely important to report your injury to your supervisor or employer IMMEDIATELY after your injury, even if it doesn’t cause you to miss work or seem that bad. When reporting, you must include the date, time and circumstances of your injury.
You must report that you were injured and that your injury was caused by your job. We suggest that you give that notice in writing. If you develop an occupational illness over time that can be related to your job, you should report it as soon as you receive a doctor’s diagnosis. Injuries must be reported to your supervisor or the person whose job it is to prepare injury reports.
How much time do I have to report an injury?
You must report your injury within 120 days or you become ineligible to receive benefits. If you inform your employer of your injury within 21 days, you can be awarded benefits as of the date of your injury, but beyond 21 days, you can only be awarded benefits as of the date you report your injury.
What happens if my injury is gradual?
There may be some circumstances where you are not even aware you have an injury, such as carpal tunnel or even an injury with no initial symptoms. In these circumstances, it is important to report your condition as soon as your doctor gives you a diagnosis and relates it to your employment. You have three years from the date of an injury to file a claim petition if your claim is initially denied.
Can I choose my own doctor for treatment?
You are ALWAYS free to treat with your own doctor, and we recommend it. The only instance in which you must see an employer-provided doctor is if specific conditions are met. The majority of the time, employers do not meet these conditions. Even if your employer met these conditions, you can still treat with your own doctor, but you may have to pay out-of-pocket for their services.
The conditions are:
- Your employer must have had you sign a document called a panel acknowledgement.
- That acknowledgement must have been signed when you were hired, after any changes were made and immediately after your injury.
- Your employer must also provide you with a list of physicians. That list must contain at least six providers, and three must be physicians.
- After the 90 days, you are free to treat exclusively with your doctor even if the above conditions are met.
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