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Workers compensation

How Long Do You Have to Report a Work Injury in Every State?

Written by
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.
Victoria Muñoz
Lead Attorney
May 26, 2023  ·  4 min read
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Atticus offers free, high-quality workers' compensation advice to those injured at work. Our team of Stanford and Harvard trained lawyers has a combined 15+ years of legal experience, and help thousands of Americans get the benefits they deserve each year.

See if you qualify

State workers’ comp laws require you to follow a certain timeline to report your injury in order to qualify for benefits. Each state sets a limit on how soon you should report your work and it could range anywhere from a few days to a few months. Your best bet is to tell your employer immediately, but we’ll go over each state’s time limits for notifying your workplace about your condition.


When should you report a work injury?

Report a work injury immediately when it happens. If you can’t report right away, like if you need emergency care, ask someone else to report it for you and then report it yourself as soon as possible.

Besides meeting your state’s time limit for reporting your injury, reporting early has two more benefits:

  1. You’ll have the details of your accident fresh in your mind. This makes for easier reporting. A detailed report will help you later in the workers’ comp process if your employer or insurance disputes your claim.
  2. The workers’ comp payment process could go faster. Before you can get benefits, you need to wait for your employer to report your injury to their insurer or the state. Then that party needs to process your claim. Getting your report in ASAP will help you get your first payments as soon as possible after the initial waiting period you need to go through.

How long do you have to report a work injury in every state?

The time you have to report your work injury varies based on your state.

Most states say to notify your employer of your injury “as soon as practicable.” That generally means as soon as possible, but it gives you time if you can’t report it to your employer immediately — like if you needed emergency care or didn’t confirm the injury is work-related until later.

The table below shows how long you have across the United States to let your employer know that you have a workplace injury or illness that could require workers’ comp.

State

Time limit to notify employer

Do you need to give written notice?

Alabama

5 days1

Yes

Alaska

30 days2

Yes

Arizona

As soon as possible

No

Arkansas

As soon as possible

Yes, on Form AR-N

California

30 days

Yes

Colorado

10 days

Yes

Connecticut

As soon as possible

No

Delaware

90 days

No

District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)

30 days

Yes

Florida

30 days

No

Georgia

30 days

No

Hawaii

As soon as possible

Yes

Idaho

60 days

No

Illinois

45 days (90 days for exposure to radiological materials or equipment)

No

Indiana

30 days

Yes

Iowa

90 days

No

Kansas

20 days

No

Kentucky

As soon as possible

No

Louisiana

30 days

No

Maine

60 days

Yes

Maryland

10 days

No

Massachusetts

As soon as possible

No

Michigan

90 days

No

Minnesota

14 days

Yes

Mississippi

30 days

No

Missouri

30 days

Yes

Montana

30 days

No

Nebraska

As soon as possible

Yes

Nevada

7 days

Yes, on Form C-1

New Hampshire

2 years

No

New Jersey

14 days

No

New Mexico

15 days

Yes

New York

30 days

Yes

North Carolina

30 days

Yes

North Dakota

7 days

No

Ohio

As soon as possible

No

Oklahoma

30 days

No

Oregon

90 days

Yes

Pennsylvania

21 days

No

Rhode Island

30 days

Yes

South Carolina

90 days

No

South Dakota

3 days

Yes

Tennessee

15 days

Yes

Texas

30 days

No

Utah

180 days

No

Vermont

As soon as possible

No

Virginia

30 days

Yes

Washington

As soon as possible

No

West Virginia

As soon as possible

Yes

Wisconsin

30 days

No

Wyoming

3 days

No


What if you have an injury that’s not obvious at first?

If you have a condition that you can’t immediately identify, like an exposure-related illness or a repetitive motion injury, report it as soon as you’re aware that you have the condition and that it’s related to your work.

Having medical documentation — like a doctor’s diagnosis — will also help you prove to insurance that you have the condition and that it’s work-related.

State laws vary on when the time limit for reporting starts. For example, in Montana, the typical 30-day time limit doesn’t apply to occupational diseases. Looking at Oregon law, you can report later than the 90-day time limit if you can show you have a good reason, but you have to prove it in a hearing.

If you’re not sure exactly when your condition first began, make your best guess at the date and ask coworkers you trust for written testimony about your condition. If your employer, their insurer, or the state tries to debate when your illness started, a lawyer can help you give proof.


How to report an injury at work

Report your injury in writing to the highest-level person at your job who you can get in touch with. This chain could go up to as low as your direct supervisor or as high as your company’s owner.

Only some states, like New York, require a written report. But reporting your injury in writing will help you wherever you live. You’ll have documented evidence of your report with the exact information you provided. This will also help if months pass and you can’t remember all the small details of your accident, like the time it happened.

Put this information in your report:

  • Your name, address, and additional contact information like your phone number
  • When your injury happened, including the date and time
  • Where your injury happened — include the address if you have it
  • The basic details of how your injury happened
  • What your injury was and the signs or symptoms you experienced

Learn more about how long you have to file a workers' comp claim in each state.

States that require a written report for workers’ comp

It’s not always easy to give your employer a written report right away. In this case, you can let them know verbally as soon as possible and follow up with a written notice soon after. These states only recognize written reports:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arkansas (on Form AR-N)
  • California
  • Colorado
  • District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada (on Form C-1)
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia

Where to get help with your workers’ comp claim

If you’re having a difficult time filing your claim or if you run into issues, a workers’ comp lawyer is your best option for help.

When your employer, their insurer, or your state’s workers’ comp agency fights or denies your claim, they likely have legal teams on their side that know the laws around benefits better than you do. A workers’ comp lawyer evens out the situation.

At Atticus, we connect workers with lawyers who can help them get the benefits they need so they can move forward with life. Take our two-minute quiz to see if you could qualify for legal help, and we’ll get you in touch to learn more and connect you with a lawyer. (Getting matched with a lawyer is free, you don’t have to use our lawyer if you don’t want to, and you never pay unless you win benefits or get a settlement.)

Maximize your workers' comp benefits.

Frequently asked questions about workers’ comp

How does workers’ comp work?

The workers’ comp process starts when you report your work injury or illness to your employer. Then you have to file a claim within a certain amount of time so you can qualify for weekly payments and reimbursement of your medical bills while you recover.

Can I get workers’ comp if the injury was my fault?

Yes. You can qualify for workers’ comp no matter whose fault the injury or illness was, as long as it happened while you were doing your job. Our guide to qualifying accidents and injuries will help you see if you could get coverage.

Do all workers qualify for workers’ comp?

You're probably eligible for workers’ comp if your employer withholds taxes from your paychecks. Independent contractors don’t usually qualify, but states may offer coverage to certain contractors, volunteers, or seasonal workers. Check with your state workers’ comp board to see exactly who qualifies in your area.

How much does workers’ comp pay?

Workers’ compensation is generally worth up to two-thirds of your pre-injury wages, but exact rates vary by state. Read more about how much workers’ comp pays in each state.

Do I need a workers’ comp lawyer?

Not everyone needs to work with a lawyer, but a workers’ comp lawyer can especially help if your claim is denied, if you get a settlement offer, or even if your claim just lasts for more than a few months. Here are some situations when a lawyer can help you.

How long do workers’ comp benefits last?

How long your benefits last varies by state, but you usually have until you reach maximum medical improvement (MMI). There are also long-term options if you can’t return to work after injury.

Is workers’ comp taxable?

No, workers’ comp benefits aren’t taxable. That's true whether you get weekly payments, a lump-sum settlement, or a settlement with a structured payment plan.


Find a workers' comp lawyer near you

California

Connecticut

Georgia

Illinois

Kentucky

Maryland

Massachusetts

Michigan

New Jersey

New York

North Carolina

Ohio

Pennsylvania

South Carolina

Tennessee

Texas

Wisconsin

See what you qualify for

How long ago did you get an injury or illness at work?

References

  1. 1.
    Code of Alabama. § 25-5-78.
  2. 2.
    Alaska Statutes. § 23.30.100.
A drawing of the lead workers' compensation lawyer for Atticus.

Victoria Muñoz

Lead Attorney

Victoria Muñoz is an attorney on Atticus’s Workers' Compensation team. She’s a licensed attorney, a graduate of Stanford Law School, and has counseled hundreds of people seeking workers' compensation. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time with her pup.
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