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Another RN and I were helping an overweight patient get out of bed when she went into cardiac arrest and began to slide to the floor. We called a code, maneuvered her into bed, and began CPR. Afterward, we were asked if we'd been hurt during the event, and we both said no. But several days later, my neck started to hurt. Long story short, I had several herniated disks that required surgery and many weeks of unpaid absence from work. Only later did I realize that I was injured during the code. I never filed an injury event report or workers' compensation claim. Can I do anything about this now?-L.B., S.C.


Workers' compensation laws, which are specific to each state, define when a worker needs to file a "first report of injury" report. In addition, employers have policies and procedures spelling out a worker's obligations when making a claim, such as seeing a panel of physicians designated by the employer. They can let the employer off the hook if you fail to comply.


Under the circumstances, your employer may be willing to entertain a late claim, especially if you have a witness. Our consultant suggests that you discuss the issue with someone from human resources, although she suspects that failing to visit a panel physician will be a problem. Good luck.