Employers and their insurance companies ignore reports of injury quite frequently. Many seem to hope that if they ignore it, you will just go away and not bother them anymore.
Under the law, notice of your accident and injury to your employer constitutes notice to their insurance company as well. So, you don’t have to give notice to the insurance company directly, but you do have to give written notice to your employer within 30 days of your injury. The written notice can be the employer’s incident report or it can be on the North Carolina Industrial Commission’s Form 18 claim form.
We recommend that you use the Form 18 claim form. If you had a clear accident that caused your injury, such as a slip, trip or fall, or a motor vehicle accident, then you can probably fill out the Form 18 yourself online without doing yourself any harm on your claim. Once you get it filled out, you can submit it through email to the Industrial Commission in Raleigh and you can also print it out, sign it, and mail it or deliver it to the human resources office of your employer.
Ideally, you would want to mail it to the employer by certified mail return receipt requested so that you can prove that you did it. You can also fax it and keep the receipt showing it arrived, or email it as an attachment, and keep the email. Ideally, you need some record that you turned it in to your employer within that first 30 days. State law requires you to provide written notice of your accident and injury to your employer within 30 days, unless you have a good excuse. If you fail to do this within 30 days and you do not have a good excuse, then that can be a defense to your claim.
The tricky thing about the form 18 is how you write up the way that you were injured. As you can see elsewhere on our website, many injuries require an injury by accident to be covered by worker’s compensation. An exception to the injury-by-accident rule would be injuries to the back or the neck, or hernias. Those only require a specific traumatic incident to be covered, which is a less significant event than an accident.
If you have injured yourself in a one-time incident or event at work, ideally you want to write it up on both the incident report and the Form 18 in a way that shows you did have an accident that caused your injury. This will help to prevent an immediate denial of your claim and it might prevent you from needing to hire an attorney to protect your rights. You also need to give the same description of an accident to all medical providers.
Here at The Bollinger Law Firm, we offer a free service to any injured worker in North Carolina who wants to contact us. We will discuss with you exactly how you got hurt and help you to understand exactly what you need to put in the incident report and on the Form 18 in order to make sure that you give all of the necessary and correct details that show that you were injured by accident. We have seen many cases denied over the years because the worker did not know that he had to explain the mechanism of injury in more detail so that he could meet the requirements of the injury by accident rule.
For most injuries, if you fail to describe an accident, your case will be denied and even the best lawyer will have a hard time getting you justice because you did not give all the details at the beginning like you should have. Don’t make that mistake – Call 704-377-7677 to schedule a free consultation on the injury-by-accident rule so that you can fill out your incident report and Form 18 correctly! You can also reach the firm online.