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Know your rights after a workplace injury

There is no easy way to deal with an injury, especially when it happens on the job. Not only do you have to go through the reality of seeing your coworkers watch you get injured, but you then have to turn around and seek compensation for those injuries through your employer's insurance.

Many times, an injury on the job triggers an investigation by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This can worry workers, because they may feel that employers who are fined or penalized will be less likely to want to help with workers' compensation. The good news is that retaliation or the prevention of seeking workers' compensation benefits is illegal.

What should you know about getting hurt on the job?

If you are hurt on the job, it is important to notify your supervisor or employer as soon as you can. If it's an emergency, call 911 or head to the emergency room immediately. When there, you should let the staff know that your injury is related to your job.

To file a claim, you'll need a form that your employer should mail to you within one day of learning about your injury or illness. If this claim form doesn't arrive, you can get one on the Department of Workers' Compensation website for California and mail it in yourself. You should then send on the document to your employer, so they can fill out the employer section. If they do not turn it in, it's very important to contact the Department of Workers' Compensation to make a complaint.

To help protect yourself, you should keep your return receipts and use certified mail whenever you mail an important document, like a workers' compensation claims form.

How soon will you learn the status of your claim?

You will learn the status of your claim within two weeks of mailing the claim, in most cases. If you don't get a letter giving you the status of the claim, you should contact the insurance company directly to find out. If it turns out that your employer did not file the claim or that the claim was refused, you will need to consider looking into your legal options and appealing the decision of the insurance company.

Making a claim for workers' compensation is important if you're hurt on the job. It's your employer's responsibility to make sure you get the help and care you need.

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The Law Office of Gary C. Nelson
421 13th Street
Modesto, CA 95354

Phone: 209-222-4089
Fax: 209-524-9300
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