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California’s workers’ compensation system provides no-fault benefits to injured workers. An employee that suffers an injury while on the job can receive compensation for his or her losses without needing to prove anyone’s fault or negligence. The same employee must, however, take a few other steps before receiving a check. One of the main responsibilities an injured worker has is to report the injury to his or her employer. Failing to report an injury on time could lead to workers’ compensation claim denial.
After a workplace accident, stay where you are and request assistance from a co-worker. If you have serious injuries, moving the wrong way could make them worse. Ask a co-worker to call 911 to request an ambulance, if necessary. Have someone take photographs of the location of the accident while it is still set up the way it was when you got hurt. Have someone notify your supervisor or boss of the incident for you, if possible.
Put your physical safety first. Even if you have not yet reported the injury to your employer, go to the hospital for treatment of serious injuries. Explain to your doctor what happened and where you notice symptoms. Follow the physician’s treatment plan exactly. Keep copies of your hospital reports, x-rays, and medical bills. Once you receive a diagnosis, take it to your employer if you have not already reported your injuries.
If your injuries are not life-threatening, tell your employer about them before seeking medical care. Your employer may need to refer you to a doctor that is part of the insurance company’s medical provider network. Emergency care is an exception. If you need emergency medical attention, do not worry about going to a hospital in your employer’s network. Otherwise, ask your employer for the name of a doctor in the network when you report your injuries.
Notify your employer within 30 days of the date of the workplace accident. This is a strict deadline you must obey if you wish to recover through the workers’ compensation system in California. If you wait longer than 30 days to tell your employer about your work-related injury or illness, you could lose all right to collect benefits. Notify your employer in writing to document the process.
Once you have received medical treatment, fill out the Division of Workers’ Compensation Form 1 and submit it to your employer. This form asks for details about your accident and injury, including your full name, address, the date of the injury, and a description of where you suffered the injury. Your employer will fill out the second half of the form, then submit it to the Division of Workers’ Comp. You should receive a copy of your filled-out Form 1 to keep for your records. Your employer should submit the form within one working day of receiving it from you.
You may also want to file an application for adjudication of claim. You will only have one year from the date of your injury to file this claim before losing your right to file forever. You will need this form if your employer or its insurance company does not offer fair compensation for your injuries. Filing the claim form opens a case with the Workers’ Comp Appeals Board. Even if a dispute has not yet arisen, you may want to file this form if you are closing in on your one-year deadline, to be safe. File if you think you will need the Board to resolve a dispute in the future to avoid missing the time limit. If you need assistance bringing your workers’ compensation claim, contact a Riverside workers’ compensation attorney.