Accidents can happen in a matter of seconds, but the pain from resulting injuries can last a lifetime. Nearly three million nonfatal workplace injuries were reported in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Before you find yourself caught in this category, know your rights and the steps you should take towards recovery.
See a Doctor
Healing should be your number one priority. No matter the extent of your injury, you should see a doctor within the first 24 hours of the incident. The longer you wait to see a professional, the worse your injury could get and the less likely your case will be taken seriously in court.
If you believe your employer or work environment was at fault, file a Workers’ Compensation Claim. Document your case with evidence including pictures, paperwork, and witnesses. Be sure to save and organize things like receipts from the doctor’s office and any work emails related to the incident because these could validate your case if your employer tries to dispute the claim later. Once you turn the claim into your employer, they fill out and sign the “employer” portion of the form and submit it to a claims administrator or claims examiner. Your employer is required to give you a copy of the complete form within one working day after you filed it, according to California law.
Waiting in limbo can be frustrating, but remember to be patient. Be sure to touch base every week with your union representative or other officials to get updates on the status of your case. Typically, if the claims administrator doesn’t send you a letter denying your claim within 90 days after you filed the form or reported your injury, your claim is considered accepted. If you believe your case is taking longer than normal, it may be time to hire an attorney.
Call An Attorney
Hiring legal representation will prove you’re serious about getting justice and could save you from losing your job. Under the California Labor Code (section 132a), it is illegal for your company to punish or fire you for your workplace injury. A business with 50 or more employees typically must grant you up to 12 weeks of unpaid sick leave without being able to dismiss you from your job, according to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. An experienced lawyer will help guide you through this confusing process and ensure your rights are protected.