Maryland Workers’ Compensation

When to Notify Your Employer

Many people ask: How long do I have to notify my employer of a workers’ comp injury?  They sometimes ask: When do I have to tell my employer about my injury?  Some ask whether they need to tell their employer about an injury at all.

The short answer is you have to tell the employer within ten days.  Tell them immediately.

If you have an accidental injury at work, and therefore believe you may have a workers’ comp claim, one of your first steps should be to notify your employer.  By law, you must give notice to your employer within ten days of the accident.  The reason for the ten days is to prevent false workers’ comp claims from being filed, and generally to prevent fraud or other issues with the claim.

There are multiple ways to notify your employer of the injury.  You can tell them in writing.  If you do, you should include the name and address of the injured employee.  In addition, the letter or notice should state the place and the time of the injury, as well as the nature and cause of the injury.

Because the written notification to your employer can be held against you by them or their workers’ compensation insurance company, if possible, it is best to contact a lawyer even before officially notifying your employer.  The injury must be work related in order to receive workers’ comp, and insurance companies often try to prove the injury was not work related.  Therefore, what you say is important.

In many cases, constructive notice is given to the employer.  For instance, maybe you never actually “told” your employer via written notice, but your immediate supervisor helped the paramedics get you into the ambulance.  This would be an example of constructive notice.  Oral notice, such as telling your boss about your injury, has been held in various cases to be sufficient.

The workers’ compensation commission has the power to waive the notice requirement.  In order to exercise this power, there must be a sufficient reason why the notice could not have been given in time and that failure to give notice did not prejudice the employer or the employer’s insurance company.

In some circumstances, an injured worker simply proceeds past the ten days, never thinking about the notice issue.  Written notice to the employer is either given or not, and the worker files for workers’ comp.  (Sometimes referred to as workmans comp.)  In this case, it is best to contact a lawyer.  If you proceed through the workers comp calculator, at the end, you will have the option to have a lawyer contact you.

If the accident involved the death of a worker, there must be notice to the employer within 30 days of the employee’s death.  If, however, the death came from occupational disease, such as mesothelioma, there is one year from time of death to notify the employer.

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