April 01, 2014

Learn your Legal Rights and Responsibilities Following a Workplace Injury

 First Aid Station

Getting hurt at work can provoke a number of problems in addition to the pain and suffering that the accident caused. Many people worry that their job will be in jeopardy if they tell their employer about the injury or if they seek medical attention. Luckily, the California Worker Compensation Law has you covered when it comes to getting hurt on the job in Los Angeles. The injury or injuries that you suffer will likely be covered by insurance that most employers are required to carry, insurance that’s meant to help you pay for your medical bills as well as cover lost wages as you recover. Not every workplace will make this easy for you, so it is important to know your rights and responsibilities following a workplace accident.

Your Responsibilities

In order for workmen’s compensation to work for you in the face of an injury, you need to understand your responsibilities. Most employers are not going to readily offer workmen’s compensation coverage when you suffer an injury. Remember, your employer is trying to protect his assets while you are likely trying to protect your own. In order for the situation to work out fairly, you should follow these steps:

  • Tell your employer about the injury right away. Do not try to hide it. The longer that you hide an injury, the less likely it is that it will be covered under workmen’s comp.
  • Seek medical attention right away. If your situation is an emergency, do not delay; simply go to the emergency room. If it is not urgent, ask your employer if there is a certain list of doctors that you are required to see in the event of a workplace injury.
  • Inform your employer of all injuries and diagnoses that you receive from the doctor in addition to the factors that caused the accident.
  • Keep a written record of everything that happened from the time of the accident all the way through to the doctor appointments and treatments. This lessens the possibility of having to endure the “he said/she said” charade further down the road.
  • Enlist help from a third party if you are seriously injured or are unsure about how to proceed with your case.

Your Rights

Every injured employee has rights that must be abided by according to the California Worker Compensation Law. These rights are not always readily known to the injured person because the employer is typically not very helpful in this type of case. If at any point you feel that your rights are not being honored, a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles that specializes in workmen’s compensation can help you get what you deserve.

  • Negligence does not have to be solely the employer’s responsibility. Even accidents that occur as a result of the employee’s negligence can be covered. The exception to this rule is if the employee was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident.
  • You have the right to a second opinion, even if your employer requires that you see a specific doctor for the workmen’s compensation claim. The second opinion might not be covered under the worker’s compensation, but you do have the right to seek it to ensure that you are being properly treated.
  • You are entitled to receive a copy of the workmen’s compensation claim. This allows you to ensure that your claim was properly filed and that it includes all of the details that you provided regarding the accident and the injuries.
  • Not all injuries are sudden. Even repetitive motion injuries, such as carpel tunnel syndrome or occupational illnesses as a result of breathing in toxic substances can be covered under the workmen’s compensation insurance.
  • If the doctor releases you but requires lighter duty than your normal responsibilities, your employer is required to provide a job with these lighter duties.
  • You have the right to attend all required medical appointments and treatments regarding your injury, even if they are during working hours.
  • You have the right to take the appropriate time to recover from your injuries, according to the treating doctor.
  • You have the right to financial assistance. The amount that you receive will depend on the type and severity of the injury and how it affects your ability to work. Temporary and permanent disability coverage is available in the event of an injury.

 Final Thought

 Suffering an injury at work is not only painful, but also frightening. Not knowing how you will provide for your family or pay your medical bills can be debilitating. Under the Workmen’s Compensation Law, you have rights that your employer must honor. If you are overwhelmed, confused, or feel as if you are being taken advantage of by your employer, it is well worth a consultation with a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles to discuss your rights. Anyone that is hurt on the job has rights and should not have to go through the experience alone. Protect yourself and your family by hiring the right lawyer to ensure that you get the assistance that you are entitled to as a result of your accident.