Practically no one expects to get hurt at work; the perception is that is what happens to other people. But, you may find someday that it happens to you. If you are injured at work there are some things you need to understand. First, work place injuries can happen in two ways under California law. First, an injury can be termed “specific” in nature; for example, when a person is injured falling off of a ladder that is a specific injury. Alternatively, an injury may develop over time; such an injury is referred to as a cumulative trauma injury. For example, a beverage delivery truck driver who moves heavy kegs over and over for a long period of time might develop cumulative trauma to his/her low back or some other body part from the repeated heavy lifting. Often, such claims reveal themselves through chronic pain which does not stem from a particular injury event.
In either case, one needs to understand that it is necessary to take certain action to protect one’s rights in the event of injury. Many times over the years, we have seen workers who figure that they can shake off an injury in the aftermath of the injury incident. They keep working after an injury thinking that they are being a “good soldier” for the company or that they will heal over time only to later learn that their claim has been denied because it was not reported in a timely manner.
To avoid this problem, it is best to report an injury to a supervisor or superintendent as soon as it occurs and/or is suspected. The employer must then supply the injured worker with a claim form called an “Employee’s First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness”. This is a simple one page form which begins the process of a workers compensation claim. The worker fills out the top of the form. It asks for basic information: name, Social Security number, address , date the claim was reported, where the injury occurred, body parts injured, etc. The employer fills out the bottom half of the form specifying the date it was received, name of insurer and contact information for the insurer.
Questions about whether to or how to file the claim should be directed to a firm which focuses on workers compensation cases like Butler Viadro, LLP. Consultations are free.