Workplace injuries are frightening. You expect some degree of safety and care at work, and yet negligent safety measures may leave you severely injured or even disabled in the blink of an eye. No matter how severe your accident, if you’re a California laborer, it’s important to know the steps to take after a workplace injury.
Your health and well-being should be your top priority after a workplace accident. Move to a safe place as quickly as possible, call for emergency services if necessary, and administer appropriate first aid for the injury.
You should always know where to find first aid before an accident occurs. Take a moment at the start of each day to identify first aid kits or other treatment equipment. If you or a coworker suffer a workplace injury, you don’t want to scramble for the first aid kit while under duress.
Once you’re stabilized and out of harm’s way, you need to file a report with your supervisor and request a workers' compensation form (DWC 1). Even if your supervisors witnessed the accident, you should take the initiative to ask them for the paperwork.
It’s important to file your forms as soon as possible. Each state has time constraints for filing a workers’ compensation claim. In California, you have 30 days to file a report.
If you do not file a report within that time frame, you become ineligible to receive workplace benefits. Filing early will help get your benefits sooner, allowing you to recover without worrying about your claim.
Go to the Doctor
After your injury, you should seek a doctor as soon as possible. Don’t worry about expenses. Your employer is required to pay for your medical treatment after a workplace injury. However, they may attempt to send you to their preferred doctor.
With a little preparation, you can opt to see your personal doctor for treatment, but you must predesignate them before the injury. You can do this by notifying your employer (often a human resources representative) or by using DWC Form 9783.
If you want to predesignate your doctor in writing, your letter must include:
- Your employer’s name (business)
- A request that if you are hurt, your personal doctor will provide care.
- Your physician’s name, office location, and phone number.
- Your name and signature.
- The date.
Whatever doctor you go to, make sure they thoroughly examine your injuries. Getting a record of your injuries will verify your workers' compensation claim. You should make an effort to get to the doctor’s office as soon as possible. If you wait too long, your injuries may not be as obvious, and the doctor may miss a serious ailment that impacts your ability to work.
Contact an Attorney
Once you’ve taken care of your health and well-being, you may want to speak to a California workers' comp attorney. Over 70% of California workers comp claimants file with an attorney. That isn’t surprising when you realize that workers’ comp attorneys work on a contingency fee, meaning you don’t pay unless they win.
An attorney can handle your case while you rest and recover. They’ll fight for you behind the scenes, working through your summary rating, adjudication, declaration of readiness, hearings, and a variety of other workers' compensation petitions. California makes workers comp claims difficult to understand, which is why it’s important to find an experienced workers' comp attorney to help in your time of need.
If you or someone you love suffered an injury in a workplace accident, you might have a case. If you’d like to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced attorney from Hinden & Breslavsky, please send us an email or call (323) 553-7560.