By Nicole Morrison
It goes without saying that after you have suffered a work-related accident, it is crucial that you get medical attention as soon as possible to treat your injuries. You may not know that it is also very important to tell your employer about your work accident as soon as possible. Sometimes a worker is hurt but hopes the pain will just go away and doesn’t tell his supervisor. Then, after a couple of months, the worker realizes that the problem is more significant than he initially thought. The Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act requires an injured worker to give notice of a work-related accident to his or her employer within 45 days of the accident. Failure to provide notice to your employer will bar your workers’ compensation claim. This notice may be made orally or in writing and should include the date and place of the accident. Notice should be given to someone in a supervisory position rather than just a co-worker.
The Commission generally construes notice liberally in favor of the injured worker and will strain to find notice; if some notice has been given, even if it is inaccurate or defective, the burden shifts to the employer to prove that it has been unduly prejudiced by the inaccuracy or defect. Avoid this situation by giving notice of your injury in a timely manner.
So, what happened to the injured worker who didn’t tell his employer about his injuries? His claim was barred and he was unable to recover the workers’ compensation benefits to which he was entitled. Don’t let it happen to you. Do not risk losing your rights under the Act: report your accident to your supervisor or manager as soon as possible.