I was injured at work on Friday but have not told my employer yet. What should I do?
Has this happened to you or something like the following:
I strained my back at the end of my shift but did not tell my boss.
I got up this morning and now my back is killing me who should I talk to and what should I do?.
Submitted by New Jersey Workers’ Compensation Lawyer, Jeffrey Hark.
In New Jersey the Workers’ Compensation law requires employees give an employer a timely notice of a work related injury. This is identified by NJSA 34:15–17. However, the law allows extensions on reporting by the employee for their Worker’s Compensation injury. Initially the statute employee report a work injury within 14 days and no compensation will be due until the employer becomes aware of the injury. However, the statute goes on to say that the employee’s obligation to give actual notice of their work related injury requirement is extended another 16 days so long as the employer is not prejudiced by the late notice of injury. Prejudice usually means the employer cannot be provided evidence, confirmation by way of other employees, the events that led up to the actual injury of the employee.
The statute then goes on to read if the employer becomes aware of the injury within 90 days of the date of loss, and there is still no prejudice to the employer as a result of the late notice, the employer will not win on the notice defense either.
So what does prejudice mean between the 30 days and 90 day rule? Have employees who witnessed the work related event that caused injury been fired, terminated, left the company. Has the employee come back to work on a regular basis and not complained of any issues? Usually proven by way of emergency room medical records and your family doctors records were also stymie the employer’s efforts to argue prejudice when the proof of injury has been preserved.
Remember, as an employee, although New Jersey’s Worker’s Compensation statute is liberally construed to afford coverage and protection, if you do not report your injury within a timely manner, there could be a presumption that the accident did not happen, or your actual medical condition was not significant enough to be related to the medical complaint you are relating… late.
The employer’s attorneys will use your family medical records, social media investigation, surveillance investigation by undercover investigators to prove that your current medical complaints are over blown, not related to any alleged complaint of injury at work even if it was complained of late, or that you were merely lying. I handle cases throughout the state of New Jersey and review Worker’s Compensation investigation reports by private investigators with video surveillance, social media investigations examining Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and all the other means of posting pictures and comments by employees. Photos taken after an alleged date of loss will be used to undermine and employees complaint of injuries and disability whenever possible. The employer and their investigators, insurance companies and attorneys will use your own words and your own pictures through the social media outlets to show that your injuries or not as bad as your complaining, your credibility will be affected, and your ability to be persuasive in front of medical doctors, and finally the court will be harmed.
I have posted numerous blogs regarding the use of social media and private investigators being employed by employers and insurance companies to adversely impact Worker’s Compensation petitioner/employees claims as well as plaintiffs and third-party car crashes and truck crashes. Remember the only thing that I can deliver to the judge and the jury is your credibility. When you make a late complaint of injury at work, or exaggerate the nature and extent of your disability, the employers and third-party defendants are going to do everything possible to undermine your credibility. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, LinkedIn, and all the other posting websites where individuals, Worker’s Comp claimants, plaintiffs, and other injured persons are still posting pictures of physical activity and travel excursions are independent means employers will investigate to actually verifying the statement you gave to the doctor are consistent with the actual activity behaviors and abilities you are saying you cannot perform yet or still appearing in the photographs and Snapchat stories you were posting on line. Any contradictions will be used against you when the photos videos or independent surveillance is presented to the doctors office the minute you are gone. I have seen many cases where the doctor will provide a statement that he has reviewed the photos and videos and they contradict what the plaintiff/Worker’s Comp. petitioner is actually alleging is his or her disability.
How does this tie into late notice? Again, it all goes to credibility and the battle that we are waging against employers and third-party defendants who believe petitioners are lying on a regular basis. Your own words and behavior will be used against you whenever possible to undermine your credibility. Honesty is the only policy which is supported by credibility, and actual disability claims.
Jeffrey S. Hark, Esq.