When Do I Report My Work Injury?
I was asked a question about when do you report an injury when you get hurt on the job. California is a law that says you must provide notice to the employer within 30 days of date of your injury. That's when you should go to file the employer, but I would encourage you to do it sooner rather than later.
As Soon As Possible
By this I mean that if you know that you're injured and it's on the job, go to your supervisor or your human resources manager and let them know right away that you’ve got an injury. Now what is supposed to happen after that is their supposed to give you a claim form. This is a state-issued claim form and you're supposed to fill out the top half of it and handed back your supervisor or human resources person. Then they are supposed to fill out the bottom half and give you back your copy. It all sounds very simple and It should be. In many cases though, it doesn't end up turning out like that.
What happens is you get hurt on the job and say, “Maybe I'm going to get better” or “This will pass”, “I will be okay tomorrow”, so you can go ahead and work through it. The next day however, you find that you are feeling so badly that you can't even go to work so you call in sick. Then you show up possibly another day or two later and tell your employer, “Remember last week I was doing this this I hurt myself doing that.” Your employer is going to be possibly upset with you and say, “Why didn't you tell me then!” And so difficulties begin. This is why I urge you to report it right away, so that the employer has the obligation to provide you to claim form, and you have the opportunity to fill it out and send it back.
There are some other tips about this, if you believe that you have an employer that's going to play games with you on this then you need to think back when you got the injury: Was there anyone was around that saw you get hurt? It's hard to see someone be injured unless you're talking about something very graphic. You can't really see if somebody hurt their back when they lifted something unless they grimace and go “AHH” or whatever they say to demonstrate some injury. If this happens to you, you need to take notice who is around and who's likely to basically tell the truth about what happened or of what they saw happen at a later time. Bare in mind that a co-employee is always going to be mindful of protecting himself with his employer and will be afraid to do anything that might be contrary to the employer's interest. At least in their perceptions, so you have to keep that in mind. So again the safest route to take is always report the injury and look for that claim.
For now, to close on this, if you really don't need to go see a doctor and you really don't need any time off of work it's okay. You know you did what you were supposed to do, they didn't give you the claim form, because under the law they really don't have to unless you need medical treatment that is beyond first aid. First aid is basically minor scuffs and cuts and scrapes. You might see doctor once or twice but that's it. In that circumstance unless you need time off of work to recover from the injury, there's really no obligation on the part of the employer to give you that claim form. On the other hand you might have an injury where you do on the first aid but you do also take time off of work and the doctor agrees eventually that you should take the time off of work to recover, so that's another circumstance that would trigger the obligation of the employer to give you that claim form.
If you don't have a claim form handed to you by your employer, weather that’s your supervisor or your human resources person, contact our office, we have extra forms laying around and we can help you fill one out. Have a good day.
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.