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What Are Your Responsibilities After a Work Injury?

envelope notifying of workers compensation approvalThere are many things workers cannot control after suffering an on-the-job injury, including how long it may take to recover, whether your employer will award workers’ compensation, and the long-term effects of your injury.

However, there are still some things you can control and that you are responsible for after the injury. While injured workers are counting on their employers to do the right thing and award benefits for a qualifying injury, there are also things workers must do if they want to have a chance of obtaining benefits.

You can contact Berry, Smith & Bartell with any questions about the workers’ compensation process. Our attorneys have several decades of combined experience and have helped many injured workers in California recover compensation.

Reporting the Injury

Besides seeking medical treatment, the most important thing you can do after a workplace injury is report it to your employer. For example, let your supervisor know before you leave to go the hospital, or call him or her on the way or at the hospital after you receive treatment.

It is generally best to report the injury as soon as possible, you do not want to have a significant gap in time between when the injury happened and when you reported it. Even a few hours could give your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer cause for suspicion about whether the injury is work-related. Employers and their insurers are already looking for cause to deny a claim.

Technically, you have 30 days to report the injury, but waiting may be a bad idea. Also, if you wait, you are only delaying the process, so it will take longer to obtain benefits.

Getting Medical Treatment

Getting to a doctor right away is not only for your health and to potentially improve your chances of making a full recovery, but it also helps strengthen the link between your job and your injury. Unless you predesignated a doctor before you became injured, it is your responsibility to see the doctor selected by your employer for the first 30 days after your injury. If you go to another doctor, your medical costs may not be covered by the workers’ compensation system.

If you want to predesignate a doctor, as you would feel more comfortable with a doctor you know and have already been seeing, complete Department of Workers’ Compensation Form 9783. Make sure the doctor agrees to be predesignated to see you after a workplace injury.

Completing the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form

Under state law, your employer must provide or mail you the workers’ compensation claim form within one day of being notified of your injury. It is important to complete this form immediately to get the process started. Completing and filing this form quickly helps to show the severity of your situation and build a strong link between your injury and your work.

Filing an Appeal

If your claim is denied, and you are unable to reach a settlement with the claims administrator, you have one year from the date of your injury to file an application for adjudication with the appeals board.

Tracking Medical Bills

Your employer is required to authorize up to $10,000 for medical treatment, even before a decision has been made about your claim. Make sure to track your bills to be sure they are being covered by your employer or its workers’ compensation insurer. If you are asked to pay for something out of pocket, you should consider talking to an attorney to determine if the expense should be covered by your employer.

However, keep in mind that treatment is only covered if it is considered reasonable and necessary.

Have Questions? Ask the Licensed Attorneys at Berry, Smith & Bartell

After reporting your injury and receiving medical treatment, calling an experienced attorney can be an important step as you consider legal options. Even if it seems clear you suffered a work-related injury, your claim could be denied.

The Bakersfield workers’ compensation lawyers at our firm are here to help guide you through the process, including the process of appealing. We know how to strengthen claims and gather additional evidence. While there is no requirement to hire an attorney, it is important to learn more about the ways an attorney may be able to help you.

Learn more about how we may be able to assist in a free legal consultation.

For a free case evaluation with Berry, Smith & Bartell, a Professional Law Corporation call 1-800-848-6288 today!

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