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What Happens if an Accident at Work is Not Reported?

Posted on March 17, 2022

Anytime a person sustains an on-the-job injury, they need to seek medical care and report the injury to their employer or supervisor as soon as possible. However, what happens if a workplace injury is not reported?

Failing to report a workplace injury could result in a person becoming unable to recover any compensation for their medical bills or lost wages if their injury turns out to be severe. Here, we want to discuss the importance of reporting workplace injuries and look at the specific deadlines in place for reporting these claims in Chicago. 

Deadlines for Reporting Workplace Injuries in Illinois

If you or somebody you care about has sustained a workplace injury in Illinois, then you need to be aware that there are various deadlines for reporting the injury and filing a workers’ compensation claim.

First, state law requires that injured workers report their injury to the employer within 45 days from when the injury occurs. There is going to be some flexibility when it comes to this, particularly for injuries that are not immediately apparent or occupational illnesses that are not diagnosed. In general, workers will have 45 days from when the injury occurs or from when they receive a diagnosis to report the injury or illness to their employer.

If a person takes longer than 45 days to say anything to their employer, it is likely that the insurance carrier will deny the claim and say that the person could have sustained an injury at any point from when it was supposed to have occurred to the date of the report. The insurance carrier could also say that the injury likely worsened because of the decision to delay the reporting. 

Additionally, there is an overall workers’ compensation statute of limitations in Illinois of three years. Even after the claim has been reported to the employer, a worker will have three years from the injury or illness date to file the workers’ compensation claim in order to receive various benefits, including medical coverage and last wage replacement.

If You Fail to Report the Injury

If you or a loved one sustain a workplace injury and fail to report the injury to the employer within 45 days, or if you fail to file a workers’ compensation claim within three years, it is likely that you will not be able to recover compensation for your losses.

Because of the nuances related to when an injury or illness occurs and when the injury or illness is diagnosed, we strongly encourage you to contact a skilled Illinois workplace injury lawyer if your claim has been denied. An attorney can step in and conduct a full investigation into the incident. This will include gathering evidence to prove what happened, examining all medical records related to the injury or illness, and handling all communication with the employer and insurance carrier on your behalf. There is a formal appeals process in place for workers who have had their claims denied, and an attorney will have experience handling this as well.

If you have sustained a workplace injury and have not yet told your employer, we recommend that you do so even if you think you are beyond the reporting deadline.