If you were injured on the job, you may be out of work for several months while facing a heap of medical expenses. When it comes to pursuing workers' compensation benefits, you may not know where to start. The workers' compensation process can be confusing, especially for those who are filing for the first time.
In California, workers' compensation is a no-fault system, so there is no burden of proof that negligence caused your injuries. You must prove that your injuries were sustained within the scope of your employment, however. That can include injuries sustained while traveling for work or while attending company events.
Common workplace accidents that lead to injuries include:
- Slip, trips and falls
- Falls from heights
- Accidents with equipment and machinery
- Being hit by falling objects
- Fires and electrocutions
Workplace injuries can be immediately debilitating, but that is not always the case. Some workplace injuries produce symptoms several hours or days later. Common injuries workers sustain on the job include:
- Head injuries
- Bone fractures
- Neck, back and spine injuries
- Musculoskeletal injuries and disorders from repetitive movements
- Burns, lacerations and bruises
- Soft tissue sprains and strains
What steps should I take after a workplace accident?
Taking initial steps to gather evidence after a workplace accident can be helpful when pursuing a claim. It's suggested that you do the following immediately, if you're able to:
- Document the time, date and location of the accident.
- Exchange contact information with witnesses and ask them what they saw.
- Take photos of scene where your workplace accident occurred.
- Immediately inform your supervisor.
It's important that you act fast when pursuing a workers' compensation claim. Any delays in reporting your accident, getting medical attention and filing a claim can be leveraged against you by your employer's insurance company.
How do I file a workers' compensation claim?
After completing the initial steps to pursuing workers' compensation benefits, you must then see a doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will likely be chosen by your employer. You can request to see another doctor if you're not happen with the one chosen by your employer, however.
You must then fill out a workers' compensation form (DWC 1). It's critical that this form is filled out correctly. Any errors during the filing process can lead to your financial benefits being delayed or denied by your employer's insurance company.
Your employer must provide you with a DWC 1 form within one day of your workplace accident. Otherwise, you can find it online at the California Department of Industrial Relations website.
There are a lot of complexities in the process that must be sorted out. That's why you should speak to an experienced attorney who knows how the workers' compensation system works in California. Be aware that your case could take several months to resolve and litigate in court.
Contact a workers' compensation attorney for help with your claim
The San Diego workers' compensation attorneys at McLaughlin & Sanchez have more than 30 years of combined experience helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve while they recover. Award-winning attorneys Robert A. McLaughlin and Denise L. Sanchez serve clients throughout the San Diego area and Imperial County.
To schedule your free case review, simply contact us online.