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No matter what industry you work in, you could be exposed to injury risks while at work. From a trip and fall accident in an office to a catastrophic injury at a construction site, many workplaces throughout California are filled with potential injury hazards.
If you get injured at work, one of the most important things to remember is that you must report your work injury to your employer to qualify for workers’ compensation. Follow these steps to properly report your injury and become eligible for financial benefits.
According to the rules of California’s workers’ compensation program, you have no more than 30 days to report your work injury to your employer. Go to your employer as soon as possible after a work injury to make sure you meet this deadline. Let a higher-up know about your accident, such as a manager or supervisor, right away.
Delays in reporting your accident can lead to delays in receiving benefits from workers’ compensation. Reporting your accident promptly can help you avoid common issues. If you have a work-related injury that developed over time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome from years of working on an assembly line, report your injury to your employer as soon as you discover it or suspect that it’s connected to your job.
When reporting a work injury to your employer, it can be in your best interest to put the accident in writing. Request an official accident report by your employer or write down the details of the accident yourself. Include how the accident happened, a thorough description of your injury and who was there at the time of the accident. You may also wish to keep an injury journal as you heal to express your physical pain and emotional suffering.
The next step in your workers’ compensation claim is getting medical care for your job-related injury. If your work accident is an emergency, call 911 and request an ambulance immediately. Otherwise, go to an emergency room near your workplace. Your employer lawfully must ensure you have access to emergency medical treatment right away after an accident.
If you predesignated your doctor with your employer prior to your injury or illness, you can visit your primary care physician after a workplace accident. If not, however, your employer may send you to a different health care provider as part of the workers’ compensation insurance policy. When you arrive at the hospital, explain that your injury or illness is connected to your occupation. Request copies of your medical records to use for your claim.
After reporting your injury and getting immediate medical care, your employer will give you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form. Your employer must give you this form within one business day after you report your occupational injury or illness. You must fill out the employee part of the form, with a description of your accident and injury in detail. Sign your name on the form and give it to your employer as soon as possible. With this, you have officially filed your claim form.
Once you file your initial claim form, your employer will submit it to a claims administrator. The claims administrator will either accept or reject your workers’ compensation claim within a reasonable time.
If you receive a claim rejection or less money in benefits than you require to recover, consult with an attorney for assistance. A workers’ compensation attorney in Orange County can help you avoid making mistakes on your claim form and negotiate for fair workers’ compensation. With help from a lawyer, you can get the results you need to move on after a workplace accident.