Suffering an injury that no one can see from the outside can be incredibly frustrating, especially when that injury is work-related. You know that your pain is real, you will need medical attention and you will need time away from work to heal. Unfortunately, your boss has a skeptical look in their eye, possibly even thinking you're lying about your condition.
Situations like this are all too common among workers who suffer internal physical injuries including repetitive stress injuries, joint injuries, back injuries, head injuries and more. These types of injuries are often met with skepticism, which can make accessing workers' compensation benefits a challenge.
What can happen if your boss doesn't believe your story
Employers who incorrectly assumed a worker is lying about being injured is not only hurting the employee but themselves as well. Assuming ill-intent on the part of an employee can mean failing to file a claim in a timely manner, which can delay much needed workers' compensation payments for the injured employee.
In addition, an employee who is afraid to pushback against their boss's skepticism may fail to seek proper medical attention, which could end up jeopardizing what might have been a valid claim for workers' compensation benefits.
As we said, however, skepticism doesn't just hurt employees; it can hurt employers as well.
A look at the law in Georgia
Under Georgia workers' compensation law, employers are required to report work-related injuries in a timely manner, meaning "immediately upon knowledge of an injury." Even if an employer suspects that the employee's injury was fabricated, they are still required to report the injury.
If an employer fails to file a report, he or she could be assessed a civil penalty between $100 and $1,000 per violation. If an employer chooses to make false or misleading statements about an injury report, civil penalties escalate to between $1,000 and $10,000 per violation.
Just because your boss can't see your injuries, doesn't mean they don't exist. And just because your boss thinks you're lying, doesn't mean they don't have to report your injury.
What do you do if your boss doesn't believe you
Georgia law requires the employer to timely report an employee's work-related accident, but the law also requires the employee to timely report their accident to their boss or else a claim may not be possible leaving the employee without any assistance. If you have reported your accident to your boss and they don't act quickly, be sure to consult with a lawyer quickly to determine the best course of action to protect yourself.