Workers’ compensation is there for you if you get hurt on the job. If you work construction and injure your finger with a power tool while on the job, then that’s work-related obviously, but other injuries, especially those that occur over time, can feel like they fall into a bit of a gray area. What does work-related mean for workers’ compensation? We can provide you with some clarity there.
Does a Workers’ Comp Claim Have to Be the Result of an Injury?
With all the rules about reporting an injury quickly after it occurs, it can be easy to assume that all injuries or illnesses covered by worker’s compensation have to be the result of an accident or at least some one-time occurrence, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Many illnesses and injuries occur over time with repeated exposure or repeated activity. Common injuries in these categories include anything related to exposure to harmful chemicals or substances as well as repetitive stress injuries like carpel tunnel syndrome.
When do you report these types of injuries? As soon as you have medical evidence of the injury and that it is work-related you have within 30 days to report it to your employer. As always, the sooner the better.
Can a Worker’s Compensation Claim be Reopened?
If you were on worker’s compensation but stopped receiving benefits because you recovered, that doesn’t mean your worker’s compensation benefits for that claim are over. In Wisconsin, if you experience returning symptoms, you can attempt to reopen that claim at any point within 12 years of your last received workers’ compensation payment.
How Long Do Employers Have to Report an Accident in Wisconsin
For the purposes of workers’ compensation, it’s decided at the state level how long your employer has before they must report an accident. This also means that if you have had a work-related accident, you must report well within this time frame as well.
If the accident was fatal in any way, this should be reported immediately by any witnessing parties and your employer must report the accident within 24 hours. For any injuries, the accident must be reported within 7 days. If an injury results in more than 3 days of last time from work, then that should also be reported.
Keep in mind, that your employer may have its own guidelines in place for how soon you should report an accident. For this reason, any injury should be reported immediately. This will also ensure that your employer can’t argue against your claim by assuming that it happened elsewhere. If your employer doesn’t report the accident in time and it delays your payment, your employer could receive a penalty, especially if it is determined to be in bad faith.
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