Reporting Work Injuries: I receive a lot questions and I try and answer most all of them. This one I have seen enough that it is worth posting for other injured employees to read. Most readers think, "Of course you report a work injury as a work injury. Why wouldn't you?" The answer to your question lies in the workplace culture of many factories and especially in northwest Iowa. A culture exists in many plants that holds almost all workers' compensation claims are being brought by dishonest workers. Once a worker joins into that culture that picks on injured workers they are hesitant to report their own injury as a work related injury. After all, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Just know this, you should never fail to report a work injury in order to avoid getting the employer into trouble or to avoid the wrath of co-workers. After you report your injury as non-work related and the time limit runs for filing a workers’ compensation claim you will likely be ignored, fired and then get stuck paying for all the medical bills with no help from the employer and perhaps your own health insurer, who will then deny coverage because they can. They can deny coverage because another insurance company should be covering the bills. (i.e., work comp) So never report a work injury as non-work related.
Question: My friend was injured at work two and a half years ago when he fell off a roof and shattered his ankle. He has had multiple surgeries and is still unable to work. He did not turn his boss in for workman's comp because his boss assured him that he would compensate him for his injury once he received his inheritance. He recently received his inheritance and is now refusing to pay. Because two and a half years have passed does my friend have any legal right to compensation? Thank you for your time.
Answer: Your friend made a big mistake in not pursing the claim before the statute of limitations period expired. What your friend should have done was meet with an attorney to get advice long before the statute of limitations period was set to expire. In Iowa injured workers have two years from the date of injury or three years from the date when they last received weekly indemnity benefits to file a petition with the Industrial Commission. From what you've stated it appears the statute of limitations has expired although there are several theories your friend could advance that may provide some relief. First, if any money was paid to him since the injury date it could be argued the payment was weekly indemnity benefits and he could still file a claim. Second, the oral promise to pay may be an oral contract which has a five year statute of limitations period. Nevertheless, your friend needs to see an attorney immediately. Do not rely on what I am saying to sit back and think your friend's claim is preserved; because frankly he seems to be making very poor decisions.
Obviously I have seen this technique used before by personnel directors. Good companies don't engage in such dispicable tactics. You have two videos you can watch of me talking about how and why to report your injuries as work related. If you still have questions then give me a call - and call sooner rather than later. The call will cost you nothing in fees.