Workers’ compensation laws leave some responsibility on employees after being injured at work. Workers play a significant role in their own cases and must understand their responsibilities and rights to ensure they get the compensation they deserve. For example, injured workers must notify their employers and file their claims while meeting applicable deadlines.
If you run into issues after a workplace injury and want help navigating the claims process, a workers’ compensation lawyer can provide guidance and representation. They will ensure you meet your responsibilities and fight for the compensation you deserve. Most provide free case evaluations for injured workers.
You Must Report the Injury and File Your Claim Within the Set Time Limits
The first responsibility for workers with on-the-job injuries is to notify their employer about the incident and injuries. Even if your supervisor witnessed the accident, you still need to notify them in writing. It is best to take care of this as soon as your injuries allow.
If you have a repetitive motion injury or an occupational illness, ensure you report it in writing as soon as you learn about it. Deadlines still apply.
According to the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), state law allows workers in California up to 30 days to report their workplace injuries. However, most people want to start this process sooner. This is the first step to getting your medical care covered and receiving wage loss benefits.
Filing Your Workers’ Compensation Claim
Your written notification to your employer starts the process, but it is not your claim. When you notify the employer about your injuries, they should provide you with the necessary paperwork to file your case. They must also provide information on this form, so their participation is essential.
You usually only have up to a year to file your claim in California, which can be an issue if you have chronic injuries and delay getting the necessary treatment.
Get Medical Care and Follow the Treatment Plan
If you have a serious workplace injury that requires medical care, you should see an approved doctor as soon as possible. Do not put off going to urgent care, visiting a local emergency department, or making an appointment with your doctor. If you wait too long following an incident at work, your employer or the insurer could blame the injury on something else.
Also, what initially seems to be a minor injury could be more serious than you realize. You could also develop severe complications without medical care.
In addition, injured workers must follow the treatment plan from their doctor. Failing to follow the doctor’s orders could lead to the insurer refusing to pay for their care or denying their claim entirely.
Cooperate With the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Company
While you have rights, and there are times to stand up to the insurer, you should cooperate with the claims process. This includes responding to all necessary messages, submitting required forms, and keeping all the documents related to your claim organized and easily accessible.
Additionally, you should respond to all requests from the insurance company to undergo a comprehensive medical examination. In California, a qualified medical evaluator (QME) conducts these exams. Alternatively, your attorney and the claims administrator can agree on another physician to handle this process.
You should consider contacting a workers compensation attorney Los Angeles if you have any concerns about requests from your employer or the insurance company. A representative can protect your rights and handle these conversations. They know how the process works and will advise you on the steps you need to take.
Think Before You Act
When you suffer injuries, you likely have good days and bad days. Recovery is rarely linear. While you may feel like participating in some of your favorite activities, remember: your insurer and employer consider you hurt and unable to work right now. You should think before you act, especially if those activities are public.
If your employer or insurer learns about your activities, it could question whether your injuries are real. This could lead to fraud allegations, claim denials, or other negative outcomes. Sometimes, insurance companies will even hire private investigators to try to prove claimants were lying about their claims, are not disabled, or could return to work.
This is not a favorable situation for anyone involved, especially if you were just trying to participate in an activity you cannot do anymore. For example, imagine you decided to go out dancing. Your torn hamstring was feeling much better. You enjoyed a night out with friends but woke up very sore the following day. Your body is not fully healed. However, your supervisor spotted you dancing in a Facebook post and notified the insurance company, complicating your right to damages.
Bottom line: heed your doctor’s orders. If they recommend bed rest or limited activity, follow those instructions. Also, be mindful of what you share online or do in public.
You Have the Right to Partner With a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
You do not have to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. Many people handle straightforward claims on their own. However, working with an attorney is advisable if you encounter any issues. By law, workers’ compensation attorneys cannot charge upfront fees in California. They work based on contingency. They only get paid if they recover benefits or a settlement for the client. Your Los Angeles personal injury lawyer will provide a wealth of guidance and advice while managing your claim and representing your best interests. They are the greatest resources any injured worker could have when filing a claim and fighting for benefits.
Discuss Your Workplace Injury With Our Legal Team Today for Free
If you were hurt at work, you have a right to hire a workers’ compensation lawyer. You can speak to a team member from KJT Law Group for free today. Our team represents Los Angeles workers hurt in on-the-job incidents. We can assess your options, explain your rights and responsibilities, and help you navigate the claims process. We appeal claim denials, take the cases in front of a judge, and negotiate lump-sum settlements. Call us now at (818) 507-8525.