I was injured at work, now what?

Work-related injuries happen regularly across all industries, and you should know what to do if you suffer an injury or illness due to your employment. You want to take the proper steps to help your claim for workers’ compensation benefits if you need medical treatment or time off work due to your injuries.

Report your condition to your employer

When you sustain an acute injury in a work accident or discover symptoms of a possible work-related condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, you should always inform your manager or someone else at your workplace. This is a requirement to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

If you suffer injuries in an accident that require immediate medical treatment and an ambulance ride, you might not be able to notify your employer before you are transported to the emergency room. In this case, remember to notify your employer as soon as you can – even from the hospital if necessary.

If you develop an illness or injury over time – such as repetitive strain injuries or illness from toxic exposure – you should inform your employer once you suspect your condition was due to your job duties.

Whatever your situation might be, keep in mind that you must notify your employer within 30 days to preserve your right to obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

Get the medical treatment you need

You want to make sure that you receive the medical care necessary to diagnose and begin treating your injuries or illness. If you need emergency help after an accident, always call 911 or have a co-worker take you to the emergency room if it is safe to do so. If you have a chance, ask your employer what you should do, but if there is not an opportunity due to the severity of your injuries, always put your health and safety first.

If your injuries do not require medical care, seek guidance from your employer on where to seek medical attention. If you predesignated a medical provider before your injury happened, you can see that doctor. If not, your employer can direct you to see a specific doctor for at least the first 30 days after you notify them of the injury.

Waiting to get medical help is never advised. If time passes between an accident at work and your diagnosis, the insurance company can allege that something outside of your employment was the true cause of your injuries – not your job.

Protect your health and legal rights

After your initial treatment, you should stick to the treatment plan recommended by your medical team. Then, you should discuss your workers’ compensation claim with a California workers’ compensation attorney. The claims process can have many hiccups, delays, and complications, and having legal representation can help you receive your full benefits sooner and with fewer obstacles. If you have already filed a claim and received a denial or limited benefits, a lawyer can advise you of your options to appeal the insurance company’s decisions.