Just telling your boss that your back “is hurting” is not proper legal notice of the accident/injury in a workers compensation claim. The employer will later claim they thought you were complaining about back problems unrelated to work. In the case of Hartzell v. Palmetto Collision, LLC, 406 S.C. 233 (S.C. Ct. App. 2013), The South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Commission found that the employee who told his employer that he “hurt his back” did not give sufficient notice of the work injury. The employee did not relate the back injury to his work so he failed to give proper legal notice under the South Carolina Worker’s Compensation Act. Therefore, the claim was not compensable and was properly denied.
It is best to immediately notify your employer/supervisor of all accidents and injuries that occur at work and how the injury was caused by your work. Report accidents even if you do not think you are hurt badly or think you will feel better without medical treatment. You can tell your supervisor how you were hurt at work, but that you think it might get better without treatment if you are concerned about making a big deal from what initially appears to be a slight injury. However, many injuries feel worse the next morning. Ask to fill out an accident report for injuries and ask your employer to send you to the company doctor or emergency room for medical treatment. Generally, employees have 90 days report work injuries, but it is best report any injury immediately.
There are different rules for repetitive trauma injuries and occupational diseases. Normally, they must be reported within 90 days of diagnosis, discovery, or when you should have known you had a compensable injury. You may want to speak with an attorney about how to report these type injuries. We offer a free consultation by phone and in person.
Employers will often deny claims if they are not reported to supervisors the same day. Employers and workers compensation carriers also question the injuries that are: occur early in the workday (particularly Mondays), occur late in the workday (particularly Fridays), not witnessed, not reported for several days or weeks, or not reported until the employee is terminated.