There are two types of injuries when dealing with California Workers' Compensation:
1) Specific Injuries. A specific injury usually occurs as a result of an accident. Some examples are: you slip and fall at work, you cut yourself with a knife, you fall from a ladder, you drop something on your foot, and so on.
2) Cumulative Trauma. A cumulative trauma injury occurs gradually over time. Some examples are: you lift heavy objects to above your shoulders frequently at work resulting in pain and injuries to your shoulders and back, you bend trying to mop or lift objects off the ground frequently at work resulting in pain and injury to your back, you use a jack hammer frequently at work resulting in pain and injuries to your hands, arms, shoulders, back, and so on.
Sometimes, the line between the two types of injuries become blurry. In either event, you should notify your supervisor of your injury as soon as possible. Many employees fear being fired or laid off for reporting an injury. Unfortunately, these fears are sometimes valid because some employers terminate an employee when they report an injury. However, it would be illegal for your employer to do so and your employer could get into trouble for terminating you for reporting an injury. If you truly fear that your employer will terminate you for reporting an injury, and you believe your fear is valid and reasonable, then make sure you seek medical attention immediately regarding your injury.
Once your employer becomes aware of your injuries, they must provide you with a Workers' Compensation Claim form (DWC 1). If you injury was a result of a specific injury or incident, then you should notify your supervisor right away. If your injury or illness developed gradually, report it as soon as you learn or you believe it was caused by your job. When reporting your injury, you should tell your employer that it is job-related.
If you fail to report your injury promptly, you could lose significant benefits. Failure to report your injury also makes your case less valuable. If you wait until you are fired or laid off, then your employer could claim a post-termination defense (meaning that you should not be entitled to any benefits because the law assumes that you are bringing a lawsuit for injuries only to retaliate against your employer for terminating your employment).
However, sometimes, employees do not even know that they are injured until they are fired or laid off. Even if this is the case, there are ways to receive your benefits.
Call us for a FREE CONSULTATION! If nothing else, we can at least try to tell you what you might be entitled to.
NOTICE: Making a false or fraudulent workers’ compensation claim is a felony subject to up to 5 years in prison or a fine of up to $50,000 or double the value of the fraud, whichever is greater, or by both imprisonment and fine.