If it’s your first time filing for workers’ comp, every part of it can seem overwhelming. At first glance, the entire process can seem opaque, time consuming, and difficult to navigate. Worse still, you’re probably dealing with the lingering effects of your injury to boot. No part of filing for workers’ comp is easy, but is the right thing to do. When you’re hurt on the job, you deserve to be compensated, which is what workers’ comp is all about. In this blog, a workers’ compensation lawyer in Los Angeles from our law firm will walk you through the process of what to do when you get hurt at work.
Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Los Angeles on What to Do
Hopefully, you never have to use anything in any of these blogs. In a better world, no one would get hurt at work and then need workers’ comp. That being said, it’s important to be aware of your workers’ comp rights. Too many people just assume they don’t qualify for workers’ comp. So, when they get hurt, they can’t get the money they deserve for everything that they’re going through. Knowledge is critical here, so knowing as much about your rights as possible is a good thing. This is a guidebook for injured workers from the California Department of Industrial Relations. It’s a good way to start.
By design, workers’ compensation is supposed to help you with medical treatment. Recovering from a work related injury is never easy, so workers’ comp is built to protect you in the event that it happens. It’s important to keep in mind that workers’ comp isn’t just for any work related injury; it qualifies for work related illnesses, too. So, if you’re at a work site where you’re exposed to some kind of toxins, or anything that could make you sick and then does, you’ll qualify for workers’ comp in those circumstances, as well.
Reach Out to the Pros
Should you have any questions about whether or not you qualify for workers’ comp, we strongly encourage you to reach out to us. Too many people think they don’t qualify for workers’ comp, and then they let the deadlines pass without filing. That makes filing impossible. You don’t want to have to live with that regret on top of everything else. So, if you have any inkling in your mind that you might qualify for workers’ comp, it’s worth it to reach out to an attorney who specializes in those kinds of cases. The worst thing that can happen is being told you don’t qualify, in which case nothing changes.
That’s one of the many reasons we make our consultations free. That way, anyone who even suspects just a little that they may have a case that qualifies for workers’ comp feels free to come in and check it out. We tend to keep these meetings short, so it won’t be an enormous chunk of time out of your day. With our many years of experience, we can ascertain pretty quickly whether or not your case qualifies for workers’ comp. If you have been injured on the job, it’s worth it to reach out to an attorney, just to be sure.
However, when you are injured on the job, before you reach out to any kind of attorney, you have to tell your employer. This is the first thing you should do after making sure you’re OK. Telling your employer, supervisor, whoever is directly above you at work is job one when you’ve been injured on the job. When you’re hurt, let them know. This is the first step above all others. Indeed, it’s where the workers’ compensation process truly begins.
Nothing Easy About On the Job Injuries
We understand that for many people this won’t be easy. You’re good at your job, you take pride in it, and you certainly don’t want to miss time. For many of us, the co-workers are a team, and we don’t want to let them down. There’s a pride in not taking time off, not admitting that you’re injured, “working through it” that can keep you going when you’re hurt or ill. However, when you’re injured, you owe it to yourself and the people in your life to report this injury as soon as possible to your boss.
There are many reasons that you should report these injuries fast. One of the biggest ones is that it kickstarts the workers’ comp process. So, you don’t have to wait around nearly as long for receiving your benefits and it avoids other problems. The longer it takes to start the workers’ compensation process, the harder the process can be. In fact, if you wait too long, it might be too late. It’s important to mention here that this is true whether you were injured in one moment or gradually. For many work related injuries, it’s not a sudden fall or momentary injury; but the culmination of several years of hard work. The assembly line worker who hurts their hand when a machine breaks is just as entitled to workers comp as their co-worker who’s been working on that machine for twenty years and loses feeling in their fingers over that time. Both are work related injuries, both came about while they were on the job. So, in that circumstance, both qualify for workers’ comp.
Many work related injuries are genuine emergencies. If you need emergency treatment, get it. Call 911. Go to an emergency room. Do what you have to do to ensure your health going forward. If you have a moment, tell the medical professionals that your injury or illness was work related. Mention it to them. They’ll probably know, but it doesn’t hurt to point that out. While you’re there, should you have a quiet moment to yourself when you can take a breather, you can use that opportunity to contact your employer as well.
Now, with many work related injuries, they aren’t going to require immediate emergency medical help. Instead, it could just be the kind of thing that requires first aid, or maybe seeing a doctor later on that night. In those circumstances, you still can qualify for workers’ comp. There’s a misconception that someone has to leave work in an ambulance to qualify for workers’ comp, but that just isn’t true. A work related injury is a work related injury, regardless of severity. Just because you didn’t suffer a critical injury doesn’t negate your injury. When you’ve been injured at work, you can qualify for workers’ comp, period.
By that same token, even though you didn’t leave in an ambulance, mention it to your supervisor anyway. Follow the same procedure you would have had your injury been more severe. The reason for this is pretty simple: it’s hard to diagnose your injury in a moment. Even if you’re the world’s greatest doctor, it’s hard to know what your injury is going to be ultimately. The person who hurts their hand at work today is the one that develops a lifelong hand problem tomorrow. You don’t know how your injuries are going to end up, so you want to treat them as quickly as possible.
The ODG Law Group
Those are some tips on what to do in the initial moments after you suffer an injury at work. With luck, you never have to follow this advice. But, should misfortune befall you, and you need to use this info, it’s here. Feel free to contact us, either by calling (818) 975-3080 or heading to our site, and we’ll walk you through more of the workers’ comp process.