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What Happens After You Get Hurt at Work?

The Law Office of Robert E. Wood May 23, 2024

Thousands of Californians become hospitalized after getting injured in the workplace every year. No matter where you work or what you do for a living, you could get hurt at work any day. Whether you slip and fall as an office worker, fall from scaffolding as a construction worker, or get into an accident as a driver of a company car, you may have the right to seek compensation for your medical expenses, loss of income, and other damages.  

At The Law Office of Robert E. Wood, we provide personal attention and counsel to people injured on the job in Oakland, California, and throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. Our attorney has decades of experience handling workers’ compensation claims and fighting for the rights of injured workers.  

Work Injuries and Workers’ Compensation

A work injury qualifies for workers’ compensation benefits any time a person is injured due to, or during, their employment. To qualify for these benefits in California, an individual must: 

  • Be an employee in the state of California; and 

  • Suffer an injury at work or develop an illness as a result of work-related conditions.  

Workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of who is at fault, though there may be exceptions. For example, if the worker caused their own injuries intentionally, engaged in horseplay or misconduct, or was intoxicated at the time of the incident, they won’t be eligible for workers’ compensation.  

According to the California Department of Insurance, workers’ comp benefits include medical care expenses, temporary/permanent disability benefits (replacement of your lost wages), supplemental job displacement benefits (to enhance job skills and/or get educational retraining), and death benefits if the workplace accident was fatal.  

If you are not sure whether or not your situation qualifies you to receive benefits, reach out to our workers’ compensation attorney at The Law Office of Robert E. Wood to get the guidance you need and save yourself from the headaches of the claims process.  

How to Seek Workers’ Compensation Benefits When You Get Hurt at Work?

Even if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, you won’t get them if you do not report your injury to the employer and initiate the claims process. To take your first step after an injury, here are the steps you should follow:  

Step 1: Report Your Injury or Illness

Many people make the common mistake of failing to report their injuries to their employers right away when they get hurt at work. Timely reporting is one of the key requirements for making a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

In California, injured employees have 30 days to report their injury or illness to the employer, according to the California Department of Industrial Relations. The clock starts ticking on the date the worker is injured or the date they discover their illness or its connection to the work conditions. If you wait longer, you risk losing your right to pursue a workers’ compensation claim.  

Step 2: Seek Adequate Medical Help

If you weren’t hospitalized immediately after the workplace accident, you shouldn’t hesitate to visit a hospital and get checked out.

Tell your doctor that you got hurt at work and report all symptoms, regardless of how minor they may seem, so that your doctor can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and recommend the appropriate treatment plan. If you skip this step and return to work without receiving medical attention, you could lose your right to benefits. 

Step 3: Gather Evidence and Information About the Injury/Illness

The success of your workers’ compensation claim depends on the availability of evidence that supports your case. That’s why you need to do these three things:  

  1. Get a copy of the accident report if the injury occurred at work.  

  2. Write down everything that happened while the events are still fresh in your mind.  

  3. Compile a list of coworkers or other people who witnessed how the accident occurred.  

If you are seeking workers’ compensation benefits for a work-related illness, start writing a journal that details when you began experiencing symptoms, how your work might have contributed to your condition, and how your condition has progressed over time, along with other relevant information.  

Step 4: Contact an Attorney to Get Help

Even if you are confident about your eligibility for workers’ compensation, there are still many things that could get in the way of obtaining the benefits to which you are entitled. These include but are not limited to facing opposition from the employer or their insurance company and being unable to negotiate a fair settlement.  

With the help of an attorney, you are more likely to get the workers’ comp benefits that rightfully belong to you.  

Get Help from The Law Office of Robert E. Wood

At The Law Office of Robert E. Wood, we are committed to providing quality legal representation to those who get hurt at work. With decades of experience and a proven record of success, our attorney can give you the legal support and guidance you need to move forward. Reach out to our office in Oakland, CA, to schedule a free case evaluation and discuss your next steps.