TALKING TO YOUR EMPLOYER AFTER AN ACCIDENT
When someone is injured on the job, it’s important for them to know what they MUST talk to their employer about, what they SHOULD talk to the employer about, and what they SHOULDN’T talk to the employer about. Those are three different things – and the picture can become even more complicated if the employer is “self-insured” (like the City of New York or the New York City Transit Authority).
First, as we’ve written about previously, the injured worker MUST report an on-the-job injury to the employer within 30 days, and sooner is better. If the employer has a form for accident reporting, that form should be used – and the injured worker should keep a copy. The employer is then required to report the accident to their insurance company, law department, workers’ compensation division, or third-party administrator – whoever handles their workers’ compensation claims. Any further communication about workers’ compensation benefits should come from the workers’ comp carrier, not the employer or its human resources department.
However, the worker may still need to speak to the employer about employment issues that are related to, but separate from their workers’ compensation benefits. For instance, if the worker is entitled to be paid wages after an accident because of a union contract or employer policy, the worker should talk to the employer (through their union representative if needed) about those contractual or employment benefits. The same is true for continuation of health insurance, pension contributions, return to work requirements, light duty, termination, and other employment matters. The fact that the person is out of work because of an on-the-job injury may have created issues about some of those things, but they are employment matters to address with the employer, not workers’ compensation issues that will be addressed by the Workers’ Compensation Board.
The injured worker should NOT talk to the employer about their workers’ compensation case. Once the claim is filed, then workers’ comp issues are handled by the insurance carrier and communication should go to the carrier (and preferably through the worker’s attorney).