When Should I Notify My Employer of a Work-Related Accident and Injury?


Report Your Workplace Accident to the Employer Right Away


An injured worker in Virginia must understand the 30-day rule for notifying his or her employer of any work accident and work-related injury. Under Virginia workers’ compensation, you must notify your employer of the work injury within 30 days of when it happened. Failure to notify your employer within this deadline may bar you from receiving valuable workers’ compensation benefits, even if you file a workers compensation claim within the applicable statute of limitations.


How Long Do I Have to Notify My Employer of a Work Injury?


Many injured workers ask: How long do I have to report my work injury to my employer? Others ask: When do I have to tell my boss about my injury? And some ask whether they have to tell their employer they were hurt at work at all.


The short answer is that you should tell your employer immediately. You have 30 days from the date of the accidental injury to report that you were hurt.


If you are injured at work and believe you have a workers’ comp claim, notifying your employer is one of the first steps you should take. By law you must give your employer prompt notice of the work accident so that it has time to investigate the claim and determine what happened. The more time that passes between the date of your injury and the date of your notice, the more difficult it is to determine what happened: memories fade and other important evidence may disappear.


Whom Do You Notify of the Work Injury?


The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires the injured employee to notify specific people of the industrial injury. Telling a co-worker that you were injured on the job is not enough. You must notify a supervisor or manager in writing. We recommend notifying your supervisor, manager, and human resources contact by letter, email, and text – and saving the correspondence. Then contact an attorney.


Your Virginia Workers’ Compensation Notice Checklist: What Do I Tell My Employer About the Work Injury?


Virginia Code Section 65.2-600 explains what is considered timely notice and what you should tell your employer about the work accident and your injuries.


Follow the steps below and you will satisfy Virginia Code Section 65.2-600 and meet the workers compensation accident notice requirement. This will prevent the employer from defending your claim based on lack of notice.


  • Immediately after the accident, find a sheet of paper and write down the following: your name, address, the date, all of the body parts you injured, a short and simple description of how your injuries happened, and where the accident took place. You can also type up your accident notice or send the employer notice by email.


  • Make two copies of this report. Keep the original for yourself, a copy for your workers’ compensation attorney, and give the second copy to your immediate supervisor, safety manager, or HR person.


You can also use my sample letter reporting your work injury.

Even if you think you will start to feel better with rest, complete an accident report and give it to the appropriate manager. Though you are technically given up to 30 days to give notice of the accident to your employer, waiting a period of days to give accident notice will raise a red flag with the insurance company and increase the likelihood of your workers’ comp claim getting denied. The sooner you give notice and seek medical treatment, the better for your financial future.


If you fail to notify your employer of the work injury within the time allowed, you will have to pay for medical treatment received prior to giving notice unless you can prove that your employer had knowledge of the accident or that you were unable to give notice sooner due to physical or mental incapacity. For example, the notice requirement may be waived if you suffer a traumatic brain injury that prevents you from giving notice sooner.


As you can see, failure to notify your employer of the work injury can have serious financial consequences.


Important Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission Opinions on Notifying Your Employer of the Work Injury


  • Solid Gold Corp v. Wang, 18 Va. App. 66, 441 S.E.2d 643 (1994): An injured worker need not give notice of the accident directly to the insurer. The Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act requires only that notice be given to the employer.


  • Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Harris, 35 Va. App. 162, 543 S.E.2d 619, 2001 Va. App. LEXIS 148 (2001): An injured worker is not barred from receiving wage loss benefits due to his failure to give timely notice unless the employer can prove it was actually prejudiced by that failure.


  • Lucas v. Research Analysis Corp., 209 Va. 583, 166 S.E.2d 294 (1969): It is the claimant’s burden of showing a reasonable excuse for a delay in giving notice of the accident. If, however, the claimant meets that burden, the employer must show actual prejudice due to the delay.


  • Uninsured Employer’s Fund v. Edwards, 32 Va. App. 814, 531 S.E.2d 35 (2000): An employer’s actual notice of the accident is given the same weight as written notice.


If the employer or its insurance carrier raises a notice defense to your workers’ comp claim, contact an experienced attorney right away. The employer must prove that it was prejudiced by an injured worker’s failure to give timely notice to succeed on this defense.


Contact Us For Guidance on Work Injury Notification and When to Report Your Workplace Accident to the Employer


Though stressful, the days following your work injury are not the time to hesitate or put off a decision. You must satisfy all deadlines to get the temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, and lifetime medical benefits you deserve.


Email or call us at 804-251-1620 or 757-810-5614 to talk to experienced workers compensation lawyer Corey Pollard. We charge on a contingency basis, so there is no fee unless we recover benefits or negotiate a workers compensation settlement on your behalf.


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