What to Do After a Work Injury
If you are hurt while on the job in California, you are entitled to workers’ compensation coverage. It doesn’t matter whether you were injured on a construction worksite falling from scaffolding or injured in a slip-and-fall in an office building; if you were hurt at your workplace or while performing work-related duties, then you are covered. To ensure that you get the coverage you are owed, however, there are a few important steps to take. Read on for a discussion of the first steps you should take after any work-related injury. If you were hurt on the job in Southern California, call a dedicated Riverside workers’ compensation lawyer for assistance.
Get Medical Attention
If you need emergency medical attention, get to a hospital as soon as possible. You or another worker may need to call an ambulance. Even if you are not in critical condition, you should still get to a doctor as soon as you can after the incident. If you do not require emergency treatment, then you should get a list of acceptable healthcare providers from your employer or their insurance provider soon after reporting your injury. See an in-network doctor to ensure that your medical care is covered by workers’ compensation. Make sure to tell your doctor how the injury occurred (i.e., that it happened while you were at work), and describe all of your symptoms. Leave nothing out.
Getting medical aid soon after an accident will ensure that you get the diagnosis and treatment you need to avoid exacerbating your injuries, especially if you suffered a hard-to-detect injury such as internal bleeding. Additionally, you will preserve your right to workers’ compensation coverage and other compensation by getting a medical report quickly establishing that your injury was caused by your workplace duties and/or occurred at the workplace.
Report the Accident
In order to get workers’ comp protection, you must go through the proper channels. The first thing to do is to report your accident to your employer–either to a supervisor, someone in human resources, or some other official. You must report the accident within 30 days or you risk losing out on workers’ comp coverage. While you should of course get any emergency medical treatment you need as soon as possible, reporting the accident should be your next priority.
While you may be afraid to report an accident, especially if you caused the accident yourself, it is vital that you do so. You are entitled to workers’ comp protection no matter how the accident occurred, with a few limited exceptions (such as if you were intoxicated on the job or if you intentionally injured yourself).
Submit a Claim for Workers’ Compensation
Within one day after you report your accident to your employer, they should provide you with a claim form. You will need to fill out this form, include any requested documentation, and return the form to your employer. Your employer will send the form to their workers’ comp insurance company, who will then investigate your claim.
Get a Lawyer
Workers’ comp claims can be complex and technical. Any little misstep can lead to your coverage being limited or your claim being rejected entirely. Workers’ comp insurance providers are always looking for any reason to avoid a payout. Get a seasoned workers’ comp lawyer on your side early in the process to ensure that your claim is appropriately filed and supported, that the insurance company is conducting a proper investigation, and that your claim is not wrongfully rejected or undervalued. Your attorney will ensure that you get the best medical care available, collect disability benefits to which you are entitled, and avoid going bankrupt in the process.
For help getting benefits after an on-the-job injury or workplace illness, call Ochoa & Calderon to discuss your case with a knowledgeable and effective California workers’ comp lawyer. Call 951-901-4444 in Riverside or 844-401-0750 toll-free throughout Southern California.