Georgia’s workers’ compensation law requires that injured workers must give notice of their injury to their employers within 30 days of the injury. While the law obligates employers to file a first report of injury (known as Form WC-1) upon receipt of notice of injury, the law also allows injured workers to file their own notice of claim.
The employee’s notice of claim is called the Employee’s First Report of Injury or Form WC-14. On this form you report the date of your injury, the part of your body that was injured, and other information.
Here’s how the system is supposed to work: when you give notice to your employer, the HR person there is supposed to turn the claim over to the company’s insurance company and file notice of injury paperwork – called a WC-1 First Report of Injury – with the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation.
Our experience has been that most employers follow this procedure but some do not. For example your employer may try to convince you to file a claim under your health insurance to avoid creating a workers’ compensation claim. Generally efforts by an employer to sidestep workers compensation will not be in your best interest – please call me to discuss how you can protect yourself under these circumstances.
Let an Experienced Lawyer Prepare and File Your WC-14 Form
In cases when I get involved relatively early I file the WC-14 as the lawyer for my clients. Like many government forms, the WC-14 can be somewhat confusing and it asks for information that you may not have, such as the name of the workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
I have also found that sometimes my clients have not been provided with the formal name of their employer. Using your employer’s trade name or misspelling the company name should not create problems for you but there is a possibility for delay.
More importantly, I like to be very specific when it comes to describing what happened and identifying the specifics of your injury. I have been in many cases, for example, in which my client injured his back and did not realize that he had also hurt his neck. Not including allegations of injury about the neck on the WC-14 can create problems later on.
Filing a WC-14 protects you by formally notifying the State Board of Workers’ Compensation that you are asserting an injury claim.