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As an employee in California, you have many rights and legal protections. One is the ability to seek financial compensation if you get injured on the job through the workers’ compensation system. Although this is a no-fault system, you may need to submit evidence to support your insurance claim, such as testimony from eyewitnesses. If no one saw your work injury, learn how to handle the claims process.
If you get hurt on the job, report your injury to your employer right away. In California, you have no more than 30 days from the date of the accident to tell your employer about your injury or illness. If you wait longer than 30 days, you will lose the right to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
Go to a manager, supervisor or the human resources department immediately to report your injury. This is especially important if no one witnessed your workplace accident. Reporting the accident puts it on the official record, creating a paper trail to help you prove the accident and injury occurred at work. A prompt accident report can help make up for the fact that you don’t have any eyewitnesses.
If possible, while still at the scene of your workplace accident, take photographs of the item or hazard that injured you. If you tripped and fell over an obstacle in a walkway, for example, take a photograph of the obstacle before it’s cleared. Take pictures of your injuries, as well. Photographs can serve as hard evidence connecting your accident to an injury even without witnesses available.
Ask your employer if any surveillance cameras on the premises captured your accident. Surveillance footage can provide key evidence in a workers’ compensation case that does not have any eyewitnesses. Although no one was present to see your accident, a surveillance camera might have captured footage of the accident actually happening. This can prove your workers’ comp claim as valid.
Go to a hospital in Orange County immediately after a workplace accident and injury. Tell the doctor exactly how the injury occurred in as much detail as possible. Thoroughly explain your symptoms and how they impact your ability to work. Be honest and descriptive in your explanations. Your doctor will record key information in your medical records.
Prompt medical care can show that you did your part to treat your injuries and prevent further damage. This is important for an insurance company to accept your claim and offer benefits without accusing you of contributing to your injury. You can also provide proof of your injury in the form of medical records and x-rays.
A doctor can write up a report with his or her professional opinion of how the injury most likely occurred. If the doctor’s report confirms that the injury occurred the way you say it did, it will present you as a reliable and trustworthy witness despite being the only person who was present at the accident site.
During a workers’ compensation claim, you do not have to prove someone else’s fault or negligence to qualify for benefits. Instead, your only burden of proof will be to show that you have an injury that occurred while performing work-related activities. If no one witnessed your accident, improve your chances of a successful claim by carrying out a few key steps.
You do not necessarily need a witness to obtain benefits with a workers’ compensation claim in California. No eyewitnesses, however, may make it more difficult to receive a claim approval. Your claim may initially get denied, at which point you will need to submit further evidence and reapply. If you receive a claim denial, contact an Orange County workers’ compensation attorney for advice. Hiring an attorney can increase your chances of a successful claim, even without witnesses.