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Delaying Filing a Work Injury Claim Can Have Serious Consequences

No one expects to get hurt at work. However, it may someday happen to you, a loved one, or a friend and you should know your rights if you are injured on the job.

Under California Law, work place injuries can happen two ways. First, an injury can be “specific” in nature. For example, when a person is injured lifting a patient, falling off of a ladder, in a car accident, that is a specific injury.

The second way a work place injury happens is by developing over time; such an injury is referred to as a cumulative trauma injury. For example, an administrative assistant who types the majority of the working day and develops wrist pain, a delivery driver who moves heavy items over and over for a long period of time might develop cumulative trauma to their low back or knee from the repeated heavy lifting, or a store clerk who is stocking shelves above their head may develop shoulder pain. Cumulative trauma injuries do not stem from a specific incident but instead build up over time.

Regardless of the type of injury, it is necessary to take action to protect your rights in the event of a work injury. Too many times to count over the years, we have seen injured workers who think they will get better and they do not report the injury. They keep working without reporting the injury only to later have their claim denied because they did not report it in a timely manner.
It is best to report an injury to a supervisor as soon as it occurs and/or is suspected. The employer must then supply the injured worker with a claim form (DWC-1) called an “Employee’s First Report of Occupational Injury or Illness”. This is a one page form which begins the process of a workers compensation claim. The injured worker fills out the top of the form. It asks for basic information: name, Social Security number, address, date the claim was reported, where the injury occurred, body parts injured, etc. The employer fills out the bottom half of the form indicating the date it was received, name of insurer and contact information for the insurer. This form also starts the time period the employer/insurance carrier has to accept or deny the claim.

If you have questions about how to file a work injury claim, or your rights after you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, contact the Law Offices of Siles and Foster, P.C., at 530-898-9600. Consolations are free.

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