Workplace Injuries Should Be Reported

The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article stating there has been a 31 percent drop in workplace injury claims over the last decade. While that number appears encouraging, there is more to the story. In that same time period, there has also been a 50 percent rise in employer retaliation claims and some government officials worry that many injuries are not being reported. If you have been injured on the job, it is important to report the incident to your employer and seek medical attention right away.

Employer Retaliation

photo_1115_20060217Many employees feel pressure to keep workplace injuries quiet. Some workers worry that if they report an injury, their employer may withhold a raise or promotion. Others feel they may be fired. You should know that federal law bars employers from retaliating against employees for reporting injuries. Additionally, Ohio statutes provide:

No employer shall discharge, demote, reassign, or take any punitive action against any employee because the employee filed a claim or instituted, pursued or testified in any proceedings under the workers’ compensation act for an injury or occupational disease which occurred in the course of and arising out of his employment with that employer. (Ohio Revised Code 4123.90)

If you feel that your employer mistreated you because you reported a workplace injury, you may have a claim. It is crucial to handle employer retaliation and other whistleblower claims promptly; you may only have 30 days to file a claim.

Underreporting

Even if an employee does report getting hurt at work, sometimes the severity of the injury is not fully documented. A 2009 study from the Government Accountability Office reported that more than a third of health practitioners were asked by management to provide workers with treatment that wouldn’t require a formal report. If you do get injured at work, don’t try to “play it down.” Be honest with your healthcare provider about any symptoms you may be experiencing.

Peer Pressure

Contrary to popular belief, programs for maintaining safety records don’t always improve safety. When an employer institutes a safety policy that provides bonuses or prizes to groups, it can create peer pressure not to report workplace injuries.

For more information, contact our experienced workplace injury attorneys by calling 1-800-ELK-OHIO (1-800-355-6446) or complete our free, no-obligation online form.

 

Source: Workplace Injuries Drop, but Claims of Employer Retaliation Rise” by James R. Hagerty, The Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2013.

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6 Replies to “Workplace Injuries Should Be Reported”

  1. I am 1 of these people that scared that I will fired because I got hurt on my job and reported it/ filed a claim I am a truck driver and sitting in a truck for 12 to 14 hours day will be tough on me due to my back injury . I am at a loss as what to do I have bills to pay like everyone else and I live pay check to pay check what if i am off work more than the 2 weeks my doctor has put me off for how will I pay my bills . It has been over a week now and I feel the same if not worse the pain is extreme and I am left wondering what am I going to do ???

  2. Back injuries can be especially troublesome for truck drivers. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions and allow your injury to heal. Make sure your doctor knows that it is a work-place related injury so a First Report of Injury, Occupational Disease or Death (FROI-1) form can be filed.

    It is illegal for your employer to fire you or take any other retaliatory actions for reporting an injury. If you have any questions, please give us a call. Our lawyers handle cases like yours every day.

    Good luck with your recovery,
    Your Friends at Elk & Elk

  3. You mentioned that someone may only have 30 days to file a claim. Does this depend on the severity, where the injury happened, or is it 30 days in all cases?

    1. That’s a great question, Dan. The 30-day restriction mentioned in the blog refers to certain cases involving employer retaliation and other whistleblower claims. As always, it is important to speak to a knowledgeable workplace injury attorney about the facts specific to your case.

      For more information, the U.S. Department of Labor offers an informational fact sheet about the rights of whistleblowers. Visit https://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_General_Facts/whistleblower_rights.pdf

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