No one wants to get injured, especially at work. There might be a higher risk of getting into a workplace accident in particular industries, but irrespective of what risks exist in your workplace, it’s crucial to know and understand the processes you should follow when a workplace injury occurs.
We know that the initial pain of a workplace injury is often followed by uncertainty, despair and even frustration with the claims process as well as considerable disruptions to daily life (often including long-term suffering or disability).
When an injury occurs at work, the last thing you may think about is your workers’ compensation claim. But, a workers’ comp claim is usually the first thing that your employer’s insurance provider is thinking about. Hence, it is not something that you can put on the back burner.
If you’re injured at work in Oakland, CA, you’re probably entitled to worker’s compensation. Nearly all employers are mandated by state law to offer worker’s compensation insurance coverage for their employees.
After being injured on your job, there’re some specific steps you must take in order to help ensure that your work injury would be covered by workers’ compensation.
Get Medical Assistance Right Away
After an injury or accident at work, your health and safety are the most important things. In case your workplace injury can’t be taken care of suitably by a first aid kit, it’s vital to seek professional medical care. You should call 911 for emergency medical help, if necessary. If not, you will need to visit an urgent care clinic, an emergency room, or doctor’s office right away. Keep in mind that these medical records will be important when you make a claim for workers’ compensation.
There’re several stages and steps in a California workers’ compensation case; also, it is likely that you will tell your story multiple times. Note that being honest and truthful about how and where you were injured would save you from inconsistencies; these inconsistencies could negatively affect your case. Furthermore, honesty with your Oakland workers compensation lawyer is necessary.
Keep in mind that if your workers comp attorney Oakland, CA is not well informed, it would affect their ability to best represent your interests.
Take photographs of the Accident Site
You must collect evidence of the accident as soon as possible. Take photographs of the accident site before leaving work that day if you have a cellphone. On the other hand, in case you’re too injured, you may call a relative, friend, or attorney to take pictures on your behalf.
Report your Injury
After an injury at work, you must immediately report it to your employer by following all internal procedures. Although usually an employee has thirty days to report a workplace injury, it’s best to do so as soon as possible. Type or email a letter that explains what happened; also, be sure you keep one copy for yourself.
Timely reporting is crucial, as many claims are usually denied because injured workers wait too long to report their injury. Most work-related accidents and injuries happen in the workplace; as a result, notifying your employer is usually a question of promptly notifying a nearby supervisor. That being said, some work-related injuries may occur away from the place where you usually work.
For instance, if you’re injured in a traffic accident while you were doing work-related driving, you must call your employer and report your injury as soon as possible.
Keep in mind that California law stipulates a thirty-day time limit to report an injury. And if you wait over thirty days, your employer may not be obligated to provide workers’ compensation benefits. Although employees don’t always lose their workers compensation benefits if they delay reporting by over thirty days, there is no reason for you to take that risk. The best practice, in this regard, is to report your workplace injury as soon as you can contact the employer.
Submit a Claim Form
Your employer should give you a claim form within one day after you report the injury. Note that you will have to fill out part of the claim form. After completing it, return the form to your employer immediately. Then your employer would fill out their part of the claim form and submit it to their workers’ compensation insurance company. It is worth mentioning that at that point, the insurance company would assign a workers’ compensation claims administrator to manage your claim.
It is vital to submit your claim form as soon as possible in order to assure that you receive timely benefits after the injury. For example, in case you miss more than 3 days of work or spend the night in a hospital, you would be entitled to temporary disability benefits. Keep in mind that those benefits are paid every 2 weeks. So, you must submit your claim form promptly to make sure that your benefits are paid on time.
Keep a Diary or Journal
It is worth mentioning that a comprehensive written description of your workplace injury is a great place to start. You should write down when and how you got injured, who was present, and who was notified. It is also important to keep a track of all of your interactions with the employer as well as their insurance carrier concerning your compensation benefits. Also, write down all changes, both good and bad, relating to your health. It is a good move to have a reliable written record instead of relying on memory.
Keep Track of Missed Work and Expenses
Depending mainly on the type and severity of injury you sustained at work, you might qualify for one of many types of workers compensation benefits in California. In a majority of cases, your partial lost wages and reasonable medical expenses will be covered. So, you should keep detailed written records of the time that you miss from work as well as all expenses you’ve incurred related to your work injury.
This includes lab tests, receipts from doctors’ visits, surgeries, medication and any medical equipment such as crutches. Note that your medical receipts and records will be crucial to build your claim and make sure you get the compensation you’re owed.
Get Names and Contact Details of any Witnesses
It is vital to take note of everyone who was present during your accident, such as managers, coworkers, supervisors and any third parties who witnessed the accident. An Oakland injury lawyer can gather these witnesses on your behalf in case you’re unable to remember or are severely injured after the accident.
Hire the Best Attorney
Navigating through the complex workers’ compensation process could be confusing and stressful. Also, insurance adjusters are well trained to take recorded statements which can be used against you in your claim. So, you have to be careful!
Find an Oakland workers compensation lawyer who solely handles California work injury cases. This is because hiring workers compensation lawyer Oakland who dedicates her or his practice to suitably representing injured workers in California is more likely to lead to the best outcome. Working with an Oakland personal injury lawyer will ensure that you not only understand your case, but also your legal rights.
Your lawyer will handle all of the different complications for you, taking the hassle and headache out of your workers’ compensation case. Note that your employer and their insurance provider have lawyers working for them. This is why having an experienced and competent workers’ compensation lawyer in Oakland on your side could help you make sure that all your rights are protected.
Communicate Timely with your Oakland Injury Lawyer
Tell your Oakland injury lawyer the whole story from the beginning. After that, make sure you keep your attorney updated on any important changes in the case, including your well being and health. We will stress again that the best way to achieve this is to write everything down. In case your injury lawyer is not informed, your case may suffer. California has many great work injury attorneys and they will do everything to get you the benefits you deserve, but they cannot succeed unless they have all the relevant information.
There are many pieces to a workers’ compensation case in California. Getting necessary medical treatment, documenting the injury, filing paperwork and following all procedures (usually involving insurance companies) could make for a difficult and overwhelming time, especially when you’re injured and do not understand your legal rights.
Too often, many injured workers in California can’t compete effectively with an insurance company’s team of lawyers, and settle for much less than their injury case is worth.
Please keep in mind that there are very strict time limits in place regarding work place injuries. So, if you wait too long, you may end up losing your right to the compensation that you are entitled to. Oakland attorneys know exactly how to stand up to insurers and get you the weekly compensation benefits and medical treatment you deserve. Get in touch right now.