Employees who hurt themselves at work sometimes wait weeks or even months before filing a workers’ compensation claim. What at first seems like a relatively harmless injury can flare into a debilitating condition months later.
Guard against such late claims by making sure employees report every injury, no matter how minor. Have them sign off at the end of their shifts, noting any incidents or accidents. That way, an employee can’t come back later—as happened in the following case—and claim she reported the incident when she may not have done so.
Recent case: Dump truck driver Wanda Fipps hit something on the road that made her bounce out of her seat. She said she hit her head on the cab’s roof.
Months later, when she had persistent back and neck pain, she filed a workers’ comp claim. She told company officials that she’d immediately told her supervisor about the injury. But her supervisor disputed that claim.
Unfortunately for the company, the court believed Fipps. It awarded her the workers’ comp benefits. (Fipps v. Babson & Smith Trucking, No. COA07-1361, North Carolina Court of Appeals, 2008)