Report Your Work Injury Right Away
The steps to take after your workplace accident
Promptly notifying your employer of your on-the-job injury is a critical part of the workers' compensation process. A delay could affect your right to collect the benefits you need to pay for your medical treatment and other costs associated with the injury.
Here's what you need to know about how to report an injury at work:
- Report immediately - California law generally requires that you notify your employer within 30 days of your injury, but there's no need to wait that long. Contact your supervisor right away. If your injury or illness developed over a period of time, inform your employer as soon as you learn - or believe - that it is job-related.
- Get emergency medical treatment if needed - If your injury is serious enough to require emergency medical attention, your employer is required by law to give you access to medical attention right away. Tell your supervisor you are going to the emergency room or to another medical facility – or if you aren’t able to do so, you can also report the injury after you leave work to get medical attention. In addition, tell the medical professional who treats you that your injury is work-related. Also, document all your interactions with healthcare providers.
- Follow your employer's protocol - Your employer should have a system in place to report and document work injuries. Follow those rules and speak with your supervisor if you have any concerns. Make sure you keep a copy of any forms you or your supervisor completes for your own records.
- Get a claim form - Within one working day of being notified of an injury, your employer is required to give or mail you a DWC-1. If your employer does not provide this form, you can also get one from the Division of Workers Compensation. You'll need this form to file your claim.
- Know your legal rights - In California, it is against the law for your employer to penalize you for having an on-the-job injury or requesting workers' compensation benefits. Likewise, your co-workers are protected by law if they testify in your case. Your employer must pay for your medical care if you get hurt on the job - even if you don't miss time, and even if the injury was your fault. Don't let your employer bully you into sweeping the injury under the rug. You're not causing an issue or making an unreasonable demand. You're merely asking your employer to pay for your injury as required by law.
How long do you have to report a work injury?
Again, in California, you have up to 30 days to report an on-the-job injury, but it’s in your interest to act fast. If you wait too long to report, your employer or their insurance company could argue that the injury wasn't actually work-related. For instance, if you are hurt on a Friday afternoon and don't notify your supervisor until Monday morning, your employer might believe that you were actually hurt over the weekend.
Your claim could be contested by your employer, insurance companies or others involved in workers' compensation process. Make sure you protect your rights. Make Robert A. McLaughlin, APC your legal team. We can properly document your case make sure your voice is heard at every stage in the process. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.