How Long Does an Employer Have to File a Workers' Comp Claim?

an employer checking the calendar to file a workers' comp claim
Mordechai Kamenetsky
Last Updated: 
March 14, 2024

The time an employer has to file a workers' comp claim to their insurance company typically ranges from 3 to 7 days after the employer is notified of the injury or illness. However, this varies by state. 

Employers must report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly to ensure their employees receive medical care and benefits and protect the company from legal consequences.

Table of Contents

Time Limits for Filing Workers' Comp Claims

As indicated, the general time for reporting claims to your insurance agency is seven days from being notified by the employee. However, this may vary by state and insurance companies. 

Check your state requirement for workers comp insurance to see if you are required to have a policy and what your timelines and requirements are for your area. 

Why is it important to report work-related injuries promptly?

When an employee notifies you of an injury, no matter how large or small, you should set the wheels in motion with your insurance company. Even if it seems like a very minor injury, you should report it because sometimes the severity isn’t apparent right away.

Failure to notify the insurance company within the legal time frame can have several different consequences, including: 

Delayed Investigation

Delayed Investigation

If the claim is not documented immediately, you cannot investigate the details after the fact. This can leave you open to lawsuits that you cannot defend without the facts. 

The insurance company may also want to run drug or alcohol tests which need to be done immediately after the injury occurs. 

Delayed Medical Care

Delayed Medical Care

Delayed reporting can result in delayed medical care, which ultimately increases the cost of care due to aggravated medical conditions.



Fines for failure to report can cost thousands of dollars.

Premium Increase

Premium Increase

Workers’ Compensation may be increased if you fail to report within the timeframe required by your state.

Cancellation of Policy

Cancellation of Policy

Your policy may be canceled.

Legal Liability

Legal Liability

Failure to file with your insurance company exposes you and your business to legal liability. Your employee may sue you for compensation.

Kickstand Tip
Kickstand Tip

Implement a documentation process that every employee follows to ensure that all incidents are recorded and filed according to your policy requirements so you do not have these issues later on.

What are the exceptions to the filing timeline?

There are exceptions to every rule. You can’t file a workers’ comp claim if you are unaware of an injury. This is the employee's fault for not reporting the accident to a supervisor. 

As a business owner, you must train all employees on the importance of reporting all accidents or injuries, no matter how small. 

Cumulative injuries are also an exception. For instance, if you are in lawn care and your employee is exposed to loud noise from equipment, you may not be aware of hearing loss for months or years.

Your workers’ compensation policy should have a clause that covers this, particularly if you have industry-specific coverage.

What steps should employers take after filing a claim?

After filing the claim with your insurance company within the necessary timeframe, there are other steps you should take to protect yourself and your employees. 

Provide any documentation the insurance company needs to make their decisions. This could include photographs, workplace interviews, videos, and medical documentation. Cooperate fully with the insurance company’s investigation. 

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How can employers be proactive in ensuring workplace safety?

Businesses that are required to have workers' compensation insurance should also have a plan in place for all accidents. This ensures protection and shows your employees that you care about their well-being. 

The following are proactive steps to protect yourself and your employees. 

  • Establish clear reporting procedures. All employees should know who to report accidents to and the required documents. This may include photographs of the incident and forms documenting it. 
  • Maintain accurate records of all incidents. Update these to show medical care received, prognosis, and steps taken to prevent future incidents. 
  • Regularly review and update policies. For instance, you may need to update your policy if you bring in new equipment that could pose a safety hazard.

Following these steps adds a layer of protection to your business and shows employees that you are also concerned about their welfare.

What are the employee's responsibilities regarding injury reporting?

During training, ensure employees understand their responsibility if injured or injured at work. Employees are responsible for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses to their employer as soon as possible. 

Failure to report the injury to their supervisor or other person in charge can affect their ability to be compensated for the injury. According to the Department of Labor, the employee has up to 30 days to report an injury that occurred during work.

If emergency care is needed, the employee may wait until after receiving care to report as soon as possible after receiving treatment. The timeline changes for illnesses that result from exposure over long periods.

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Note: The information provided in this blog is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional legal or insurance advice. Laws and regulations regarding workers' compensation insurance are complex and vary by state and by specific circumstances. Therefore, readers are encouraged to consult with a qualified legal or insurance professional to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem they might have.

Mordechai Kamenetsky

Mordechai Kamenetsky, co-founder and lead agent of Kickstand, is recognized as an expert in workers' compensation. He is passionate about helping small businesses manage risks and lower their workers' comp costs. In his articles, he educates readers and clients on the intricacies of workers' comp insurance.

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