Every job here in California or elsewhere comes with its own set of risks or hazards. The majority of the time, you may be able to avoid them, but there could come a time when fate catches up to you, and you suffer an on-the-job injury.
Knowing what happens in the event of such an injury before it happens might make the situation at least a little less stressful. Taking the appropriate steps if you suffer an injury at work could help accelerate the claims process and get you much needed benefits.
At the time of the injury
Depending on the severity of your injuries, you or a co-worker may need to call 911. You should not wait on your primary care physician or another doctor in the event of an emergency. If your injury does not require immediate medical attention, you may seek first aid at work.
Tell your manager or supervisor
You need to report your injury as soon as possible if you are able to do so. Any delay could jeopardize your ability to receive workers' compensation benefits. Your employer should provide you with a claim form the following business day. The business day after that, your treatment must be authorized. At this point, medical expenses up to $10,000 are authorized until your claim is approved or denied
The Primary Treatment Physician
During the course of your claim, you will see a primary doctor for your treatment. Who that doctor is depends on the following:
- If you chose a medical group or physician ahead of time
- If your employer participates in a health care organization or medical provider network
If your employer is not part of a HCO or MPN, and you haven't chosen a medical group or doctor, your claims adjuster will choose the doctor responsible for your care after a work-related injury.
The workers' compensation benefits
You may receive the following benefits after an injury at work:
- All medical and injury-related expenses
- A portion of your lost income
- A maximum of 104 weeks of temporary disability income within five years of the injury
- Permanent disability income for permanent physical or mental disabilities
- Death benefits to dependents for fatal work-related injuries
If a permanent injury prevents you from returning to work or your employer can't modify your work duties to accommodate such an injury, you may receive supplemental job displacement benefits.
Obtaining the benefits you deserve
Obtaining workers' compensation benefits is not always as simple as filling out a form. You may discover that you must jump through numerous hoops to receive the help you need after a job-related injury. Even then, your employer or the insurance company may deny your claim. You may benefit from seeking the advice and assistance of a legal advocate who can guide you through the process.