What is an Incident Report and Why is it Important to My Workers’ Compensation Claim?

Workers Compensation Incident Report

A typical incident report.

You might have heard someone tell you “If you get hurt at work make sure to fill out an incident report”. But, what is an incident report and why is it so important to your Ohio Workers’ Compensation claim?

What is an incident report?
An incident report is usually a form document of some type that is used by your employer to record work related events or injuries. It will usually have the words “Incident Report” or something similar at the top of the page but not always. Your employer may have created this document or it may have been drafted by a lawyer. It could be a form copied right out of a book or borrowed from another business.

No matter what it looks like, make sure you get a copy and complete it if you have been injured at work.

How do I get an incident report?
Incident reports should be readily available in your employers main office or human resources department. If you are not sure where to find one, ask your supervisor or your boss for an incident report. If for whatever reason your place of employment does not have a proper form, ask to file a handwritten statement as to what happened and how you were hurt. Be sure to keep a copy for your own records.

You may already have an incident report as they are often provided to new employees along with other items pertaining to your new employment.

Most incident reports are no more than one or two pages long. The form will essentially ask you to state:

  • What happened?
  • How were you injured?
  • When did it happen?
  • Did anybody see it happen?
  • If hurt, what body areas were injured?
  • Did you seek medical attention or do you intend to seek medical attention and if so where?
  • Is there any corrective action to be taken to avoid a reoccurrence of the accident?

Complete this Form With as much Detail as Possible and as Clearly as Possible.
Identify all body areas injured even if they are not as severe as the primary injury. If you cannot fill out an incident report immediately, do so as soon as possible.

Be Careful What You Sign!
Most incident reports will have a line to date and sign the report. Although you must date and sign this report, be careful signing any document that has sections that have been left blank. For example, many forms will have an area for your employer to also complete. Only sign the document after the form has been completed by everyone. Otherwise your signature can be used as your express approval that you agree with what the employer has written about the incident.

Lastly, make sure to get a copy of the completed report for your files. As you know, plenty of things can go missing especially when multiple people are handling them!

Document, Document, Document!
Most employers want you to complete this form. But why? They are trying to create a record of everything that happens to you and others at work. This makes investigating work related incidents easier for them. Your employer will hopefully use such information to make work changes to avoid future injuries. It might also give them a little old CYA.

So, you might be thinking if they want this done, how does it help me? It helps you for the exact same reasons it helps them. You want to create a record of exactly what happened in case your injuries are more severe than originally thought, if another person questions whether an injury actually happened or if it is as severe as you say it is.

In a nutshell, the incident report helps everyone determine exactly what happened. Use this form to protect yourself and to present your side of the story. You will be glad you did.

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