How to Report a Work-Related Injury

work-related injuryIf you have been injured at work in California, it is important to follow the proper procedures to report your injury.  By adequately reporting your injury, you can make sure you are on the right track to obtaining compensation and benefits for your work injury.

If you need help with filing and pursuing your workers’ compensation case in California, call the attorneys at Kneisler & Schondel today.  There are certain timelines and guidelines to follow, so having an experienced attorney handle your case can help you navigate the California workers’ compensation system.

What is a Work Injury?

Sometimes, a work injury can be very obvious.  For example, if you fall at work in the process of doing your job duties and injure yourself, then you are probably aware of the fact that you sustained a work injury.  However, whether or not an injury is work-related may be more complex.  One example of not-so-obvious work injury is a repetitive-use injury, like carpal tunnel.  A repetitive use injury develops over time, so the cause may not be immediately apparent.

When Should I Report My Work Injury?

You should report your work-related injury to your manager or supervisor as soon as possible.  In the case of a repetitive-use injury, since you may not have known about it right away, you should report the injury as soon as you reasonably believe it was caused by your job.

Sometimes, there may be no reason for you to have known it was work-related until your first doctor visit for the injury.  In that scenario, the first doctor’s visit you had for the injury where your doctor advised you that it could be work-related will count as the day you first reasonably believed the injury to be work-related.  You should then report the injury to your manager or supervisor right away.  If you have a traumatic work injury that requires immediate medical attention, you should focus first on getting the medical care you need, and then once you are in a stable medical condition, you can then report the work injury.

You can report your work injury either verbally, in writing, or both.  Many employers will give you an injury report form to fill out, or they may ask you to put the details of your work injury in writing.  If you fill out a form or put anything in writing for your employer, it is always a good idea to request a copy for yourself.  If you hire an attorney to handle your case for you, your attorney will be interested to see a copy of the form you filled out, as it may end up being helpful to your case.

free workers compensation claims checklist

What Happens After I Report My Work Injury?

After you report your work injury to your employer, your employer will give you a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form.  This form will be either given to you in person or mailed to you within one business day after you report your injury (or after your employer learns of your injury).  You should fill out this form as soon as possible and give it back to your employer.  Once you give this form to your employer, your workers’ compensation claim is considered filed.

Your employer also must fill out a portion of the form, and then your employer will turn in the form to the claims administrator.  The claims administrator is responsible for handling workers’ compensation claims for your employer.  It will be the claims administrator that decides whether your workers’ compensation claim is accepted or denied, and you must be informed of their decision within a reasonable period of time.

If the claims administrator decides your claim is accepted, then you will be notified that your employer agrees that your claim is compensable under workers’ compensation.  You will receive workers’ compensation benefits, such as payment for your medical bills for related medical care, along with temporary and/or permanent disability benefits to compensate you for time off of work.

If the claims administrator denies your workers’ compensation claim, it means your employer disagrees that your injury is compensable under the Workers’ Compensation Act, and you will not automatically be entitled to benefits.  However, just because your claim was denied does not mean you are stuck without benefits.  You will want to seek out an attorney familiar with workers’ compensation cases since you have the ability to challenge this decision.  There are certain timeframes in which to challenge the denial of your claim, so it is important to speak with an attorney as soon as you learn your claim was denied. If your case was denied or if you want assistance for your workers’ compensation case, contact California attorneys Kneisler & Schondel today at (707) 542-5132 or online contact form.