I’VE BEEN INJURED NOW WHAT ?
If you have suffered an on-the-job injury, you have two choices. You can say YOU’RE OK!! and don’t need any medical treatment OR, you can tell your supervisor you had an accident and you need medical help. The right decision is to report your injury immediately, no matter how small and get immediate medical treatment. One of the factors that can lead to an injury becoming more serious is not reporting it. The reasons why people hide their injuries are varied and complicated but they all have these two things in common. Workers are afraid of losing money or they don’t want to make waves that might jeopardize their job. Fear # 1- The fear of “losing money” from missing work. The reality is you may lose more money if you keep quiet. You could make your injury worse and cast doubts in your employer’s eyes about the validity of your injury if you put it off.
The second fear “I can lose my job for reporting this injury”. California law protects workers from discrimination who are injured in the course of their employment . If you feel this has happened, you can go to http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/IandA.html for more information. The best thing to do is be open and honest with your employer about your injury and its cause. Your employer, in most cases is only too happy to assist you in getting well and heading off trouble for both of you. Welcome back -Your most important decision is to decide how you’re going to handle the claims process. This web site is dedicated to helping you understand the claims process and be compensated for lost time wages as soon as possible. The following steps are listed for your convenience but not necessarily in the order of importance. This assumes that the user IS NOT represented by an attorney. If you are represented, you should always follow the advice of your attorney. Look them over and then proceed to other pages or links on this web site to determine if you have forgotten anything. The claims reporting process may appear to be complicated but a good working relationship with your employer can reduce the stress involved with reporting your particular injury claim. The workers compensation system was designed to help injured workers get the medical help they need and compensation for lost wages. Open and honest communication with your employer is your best bet. If you are injured….
- Report to your supervisor that you’ve been injured. If your injury is life-threatening you should get immediate medical attention regardless of whether you have told your employer about it.
- Get Immediate medical treatment. If you have not pre-designated your primary care physician, you will probably be referred to the company medical provider. There are certain exemptions for life-threatening emergencies and specialized treatment such as severe burns, severe trauma etc. but in most cases your employer or their insurance carrier uses a medical provider network (MPN).
- If possible, you should obtain the proper medical reporting forms from your employer and take them to the clinic where you are to be treated. Possibly a supervisor or co-worker can assist you with getting the right forms and bring them to you at the clinic. Your employer may ask you to inform the treating physician that modified duty is available. This is not uncommon or illegal.
- Remember….. If your employer offers you modified work…..It’s OK to tell your doctor (during your first visit) that your employer has modified work available. Tell him during your first appointment and he will explain it to you. Performing light-duty or modified duty tasks can help get you back to work sooner. Above all follow your doctor’s instructuions and provide your employer with regular documentation of your work status. An injury claim handled properly and promptly can reduce the cost for both parties.
- See a sample of a work status document that your Doctor should be giving you each time you see him – Go to our Search Library
- After receiving treatment, provide your employer with the doctor’s work status report and follow the instructions prescribed (if any) by your doctor for work restrictions. You may be returned to full duty status with no restrictions or you could be assigned an easier task such as lifting a 10 lb. box instead of a 20 lb. box. This is just one example of modified duty. Your individual work tasks must be evaluated before a doctor can decide whether or not you are a candidate for modified duty. Only a licensed physician can make these determinations and only your employer can offer modified work to you.
- Attend all follow-up doctor visits and treatment appointments. Don’t miss doctor’s appointments! This could raise doubts in your employer’s mind about whether or not you are serious about getting well and returning to work. There may be a reason you can’t go to the doctor and if that’s the case, you should make another appointment ASAP.
- Update your employer with current work status reports after each doctor visit.
- Communicate regularly with your workers comp claims administrator and keep records on everything you get in the mail. Go to our Search Library to learn more about What a claims administrator does.
- Keep your employer informed about your intent to return to work and whether your doctor has recommended you for modified work. Be sure to provide documentation to your employer for current work status.