Injuries at the workplace, especially in high-risk jobs such as construction, are a frequent occurrence. However, not all injured workers report their injuries to their employer.
Reasons for not reporting a workplace injury vary, but oftentimes the worker may fear employer retaliation, such as termination. Fear of losing your job should not prevent or stop you from reporting your on-the-job injury.
Why reporting is essential
In Missouri, state law protects injured workers through the Missouri Workers’ Compensation Law, which provides an insurance mandate for employers. Missouri employers with five or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. In the high-risk construction injury, this requirement extends to businesses with one or more employees. The only way for an employee to claim the benefits of this law and this insurance is through proper reporting of the injury.
You need to report your injury to your employer as soon as it occurs or as soon as you are aware of it. The law sets forth a timeframe for reporting: You must report your injury within 30 days in order to ensure eligibility for receiving benefits. Waiting longer than this could harm your chances to claim the insurance benefits and subsequent compensation for medical expenses and lost wages due to time off work for recovery.
Why you need not fear reporting
You should not fear reporting an injury you suffered on the job; the law also protects employees from employer retaliation as a result of filing a workers’ compensation claim. Your employer cannot legally fire you from your job because you exercised your legal right to claim workers’ compensation benefits. If your employer does so or threatens to do so, this is a violation of the law that protects your rights, and you may take legal action.
Report any workplace injury you suffer on the job, even if it seems minor or inconsequential. Some injuries start small and then develop into more serious issues or conditions. If you exercise your right immediately, you ensure your chances to receive the proper compensation for your injury and the expenses that come with it.