I Had An Accident On The Job, But I’m Not In Pain. What If I Experience Pain Later?

Sustaining an injury and experiencing a delayed onset of pain is more common than most people may realize.  Depending on the nature of the injury, the human body is more likely to respond to an injury in a manner that does not result in immediate debilitating or severe pain.  The tendency for a delayed reaction to injuries is based on a number of factors.  One of which is based in our hard-wired survival instincts.  There are many examples of hard-wired human instincts that help keep us alive.1 One of the most popular is the fight-or-flight response, 2 coined by Harvard University physiologist Walter Cannon in 1915.3 When humans are faced with danger or stress, a biological trigger results in physiological changes.  These changes are activated in order to give the body increased strength and speed in anticipation of fighting or running. None of the changes result in an increase in the ability to perceive pain, or otherwise perceive the severity of any injury.  Essentially, not experiencing immediate pain is consistent with our genetic makeup.

Fortunately, you are still entitled to workers compensation coverage for symptoms that arise after a work accident occurred.  The general rule of thumb is to report any accident to a supervisor or manager immediately.  Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, you should report the accident as close in time as possible to when the accident occurred.   Reporting the accident is accomplished simply by telling a supervisor or manager of the accident.  Telling a fellow employee is not sufficient.  You must inform a supervisor, manager, or someone designated to receive accident reports in your company’s human resources department.  What takes place at the very beginning of a work-related accident can have an impact on the entire claim.  If you have questions about how to go about the initial reporting process, contact our office for a free consultation.

When you report the work accident, you may be asked, “Do you need to see a doctor or go to the hospital?”  If you don’t feel any symptoms from the work accident, you may not feel as though seeing a doctor is necessary.  The circumstance can be confusing. Anxiety can result from uncertainty over how to proceed.  One of the best responses you can provide to a question about whether you feel the need for medical care despite a lack of symptoms is to explain that it is too early for you to tell whether you need medical treatment.  You are glad they are aware of the work accident and will keep them informed of your condition. However, it is STRONGLY ENCOURAGED that you include a statement effectively communicating to your employer that if they would prefer for you to have medical treatment, or undergo a post – accident drug screen, that you are entirely willing to do so.

If you refuse to undergo a post–accident drug screen, the laws in effect regarding Florida’s Workers Compensation benefits dictate that you have forfeited your entitlement to workers compensation benefits.  So, even if you are not experiencing symptoms, you should agree to both undergo the post accident drug screen and obtain medical treatment.   The easiest thing you can do after suffering an on the job injury is call our office for a free consultation; call  (727) 853-6275 or visit our website. Dolman Law Group can inform you of how to best proceed in a manner that will preserve your entitlement to workers compensation benefits and explain what you can expect.

Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 853-6275



1 http://adventure.howstuffworks.com/survival/wilderness/wired-for-survival1.htm
2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response#Function_of_physiological_changes
3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_Bradford_Cannon