Practical Advice on Injury Reporting in New York

When Injury Reporting is Required.

Greg LoisNew York Workers’ Compensation Law §110 states that an accident must be reported when it:

“will cause a loss of time from regular duties of one day beyond the working day or shift on which the accident occurred, or which has required or will require medical treatment beyond ordinary first aid or more than two treatments by a person rendering first aid.”

In order to be reportable, the injury must:

  • Cause the worker to lose one day of work in addition to the date of loss; OR
  • Require more than ordinary first aid; OR
  • Require at least three “first aid” visits.

The Workers’ Compensation Board has an official form for reporting injuries (Form C-2F “Employer’s Report of Work-Related Injury/Illness“). The form must be provided to the injured worker upon request and has to be maintained (held) by the employer for at least 18 years.

The C-2F report must be filed with the Workers’ Compensation Board within 10 days after the occurrence of the accident.

Penalties

Failure to file the report subjects the employer to potential misdemeanor criminal liability, punishable by a fine of not more than $1000. A second penalty – not to exceed $2500 – can be imposed by the Board.

Information regarding any injury or illness that does not meet the reporting requirements as set forth in §110 must nonetheless be maintained by the employer for at least 18 years and shall be subject to review by the chair of the Board at any time. Even if an injury or illness is not reported, it must be monitored to determine if it meets the reporting requirements at a later date (for example, the claimant obtains more than two first aid treatments).

All injuries other than “minor injuries” (see above for definition of minor injuries) must be reported to the Board and insurance carrier within 10 days. Failure to file within 10 days after the occurrence of the accident is a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine. In addition, the Board may impose a penalty of up to $2,500. WCL § 110 and 12 NYCRR § 310.2.

Admissions on the C-2F Form.

Statements made on the C-2 form may be legally binding. Questionable claims and claims where the employer suspects fraud on the part of the claimant should be noted on the C-2. The insurance carrier can also be contacted for assistance with completing the form. The C-2 can be filed by a third party designated by the employer, however the employer is ultimately responsible for making sure it is filed.

Filing the C-2F is not necessarily an admission that you agree with the facts of an accident. It is a statement that an employee reported a work-related injury or illness to the employer.

A Board claims examiner may issue an Administrative Decision and impose a penalty of $50 for failure to file a form.4 The Board may impose a penalty up to $2,500 against an employer who refuses or neglects to file a C-2F. WCL § 10(4)

Given these penalties, employers should make every effort to fully complete the Form C-2F. In recognition of the fact that employers may not have the information to answer all of the questions on the Form C-2 within 10 days of the date of accident, the Board allows for filing of incomplete forms. When this occurs, the employer should complete the form to the best of its ability, indicate where it does not have the information, and timely file the form. However, if the Board receives a Form C-2F that is deficient because a significant number of the questions are unanswered, the employer may be penalized for not filing the form. The decision as to whether a form is deficient will be made by a Workers’ Compensation Law Judge or Conciliator.

Practical Advice.

A word of caution regarding Form C-2F: As discussed above, filing this report (the report of accident) should not be treated lightly by the employer. Although filing this report seems like a simple clerical task, the statements in the employer’s report of accident may be used by the claimant as an admission against interest, even if the information in the report is hearsay. Additionally, in cases where the employee dies before testimony is taken, the first report may be used to corroborate the claimant’s version of events.

Greg Lois is the managing partner of LOIS LLC, a 19-attorney law firm dedicated to defending employers and carriers in New York and New Jersey workers' compensation claims. Greg is the author of a popular series of "Handbooks" on workers' compensation, and is the co-author of the 2016 Lexis-Nexis New Jersey Workers' Compensation Practice Guide. Greg can be reached at 201-880-7213 or glois@lois-llc.com