It is not an uncommon experience for an injury that seems minor to gradually worsen over the course of a couple of hours or even a few days. However, in the case of a San Francisco pilot or flight attendant, this fairly common occurrence can be problematic if it involves a work related injury. According to United Airlines regulations, an injury that is not reported within their very specific time frame may not be eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits. As any airline worker injury lawyer knows, reporting of all, even minor, injuries is important.
It is quite natural not to want to make a claim for every little bump or bruise, or to feel like a minor injury doesn’t need to be reported. Nobody wants to be seen as a complainer. However, that light ankle sprain can actually be a minor fracture that grows worse as weight continues to be put on it. A small scratch can turn into a serious infection. A slightly painful pulled muscle can turn into a debilitating event. Burns are notorious for worsening over time. A San Francisco flight attendant that gets what seems to be a minor injury in New York can be in serious pain by the time that United Airlines flight attendant returns to San Francisco.
The United Airlines flight attendant manual has very specific guidelines for when and how injuries must be reported. A supervisor must be notified immediately. Within 24 hours, a detailed, written injury report must be filed. That report must explain each element of the circumstances surrounding the injury, including the plane type and number. That report must also include a list of witnesses to the injury, as well as their contact information. This information is required in the event that there is eventually a workers’ compensation claim, as it will have to be thoroughly investigated before any monies are paid out.
In order to be deemed an eligible injury, the San Francisco airline worker must seek medical treatment for that injury within 72 hours of making the initial injury report. And, here is where the protection of reporting each injury lies. If a minor injury is reported, and as time passes, it grows worse, and it becomes apparent that it is not as minor as originally thought, the window of opportunity to have it treated as a work related injury eligible for workers compensation if necessary is still there. If that seemingly minor injury had not been reported within the 24 hour time period, everything would become much more difficult to resolve.
Complying with the United Airlines immediate injury reporting requirements, even for minor injuries, is an important source of protection for a San Francisco pilot or flight attendant. Sometimes injuries are not what they seem at first. Failing to make that initial injury report can make it much more difficult to obtain the compensation deserved for an injury that occurs on the job. If there are any questions about whether or not an injury needs to be reported or, like layover injuries, is considered to be an on the job injury, or a problem with the process, consult an experienced airline injury lawyer, to ensure that no mistakes that could preclude benefits are made.