I Was Injured at Work. What are my Rights?

I Was Injured at Work. What are my Rights?

Written by Dennis Grossman

Attorney Dennis Grossman has managed thousands of cases, obtaining millions of dollars in settlements and jury awards for his clients.

It’s imperative to understand your legal options, including your right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you’ve been injured on the job. California employers are required to provide their employees with a safe work environment. 

Work-related injuries from broken bones to repetitive stress injuries and even occupational illnesses happen all the time. No one ever expects these unfortunate incidents to occur. However, it’s helpful to know that California employers are required to pay for workers’ compensation insurance whether they are negligent or not.  

Even when employers create a healthy work environment, work-related injuries can still occur. On-the-job injuries could include broken bones, head injuries, sickness, psychological injuries, burns, and other occupational hazards

If you’ve been injured at work and are unsure how to pursue your rightful workers’ compensation benefits, then contact Grossman Law Offices for a free consultation. Also, continue reading for more information on what you should know about your rights and what to do after you’re injured on the job and need to seek compensation. 

What Should You Do When you Get Injured at Work?

What you decide to do once you’ve been injured in an accident will affect the outcome of your claim. The first thing to do when it comes to protecting your rights is to report your injury to your employer. California law requires that you report your injury within ten days of the incident.

Next, ask your employer about the formal process for beginning your comp claim.  Generally, you’ll file a workers’ compensation claim with the workers’ compensation court or industrial court in California. Doing so puts your employer, the court, and your employer’s insurance company on formal notice of your injury.

Once your claim is filed, certain automatic protections are immediately implemented. Negligence is not required for workers’ compensation claims. However, working with an experienced employment lawyer can help to reduce the amount of stress you endure after a workplace accident.

Legal Rights After an Injury at Work

Injured California employees have to go through its workers’ compensation system to get reimbursed for on-the-job injuries. Reimbursements typically include medical treatment costs and partial wage replacement when you’re away from work because of your injuries.

Many employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance for their employees. California’s Workers’ Compensation is designed to pay for injured workers’ medical bills, treatments, and a portion of their lost income. Since California workers comp is a no-fault system, employees are entitled to benefits no matter who is at fault.

Employees are ineligible to sue their employer once they begin the workers’ comp process. However, if your claim has been denied, an employment law attorney can help you to file an appeal or pursue alternatives to fair compensation, 

Injured California workers have the following rights under the law:

Right to file a workers’ compensation claim 

Injured workers should fill out an accident report and submit it to their manager or supervisor. This will help begin the process of documenting your incident so that you can receive the compensation you’re entitled to under the law. 

Right to seek medical care

When you’ve been injured at work, you have the right to see a doctor and pursue medical treatment. Pursuing medical treatment is vital to your recovery and the claim process. Even if the symptoms of your accident are not immediately present, personal injury attorneys recommend visiting the doctor for a complete medical examination.  

Your employer may request that you visit a company doctor in their network. The information gathered at your comprehensive medical evaluation will help to provide evidence of the cause and the extent of your injuries. This information will be used to determine your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits and tell you when it is safe to return to work.

Right to file an appeal

If you disagree with the outcome of your claim, you have the right to appeal the decision. Appeals are commonly filed when there are disagreements about the outcome of a workers compensation claim. The Grossman Law Offices can help you appeal and legally resolve disagreements with your employer.

Right to file for disability compensation

When your workplace injury leaves you with permanent or temporary disabilities and you’re unable to work because of your illness or injury, you have the right to file for disability benefits, in addition to your standard worker’s compensation benefits. A California workplace injury lawyer can help you apply for disability benefits. 

Right to return to work when ready

Once your doctor says you’re deemed fit to return to work, you have the right to do so. If you’re experiencing issues returning to work and need legal assistance, consider working with the Grossman Law Offices for a free consultation. Our personal injury law team has experience helping those suffering from work-related injuries. 

Rights Against Coercion and Harassment Involving Workers’ Comp

As an injured employee, you have the right to refuse certain requests or offers. This law protects California employees from harassment and intimidation when it comes to making a workplace injury claim. It is critical to understand your legal rights and options so that your employer doesn’t take advantage of you. 

Similar laws in each state allow you to pursue a workers’ compensation claim without fear of reprisal or harassment from your employer. If your employer makes it difficult for you to pursue your medical treatment or legal rights after being injured on the job, speak with a workers’ compensation benefits lawyer in your community immediately.  

Workplace Injury FAQs

Read on for some of the most frequently asked questions we get about workers’ compensation, personal injury claims,  legal representation, medical benefits, the legal rights for employees who were injured at work, and more: 

Will I get paid if I’m injured at work?

Suppose your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, and you suffered a workplace injury. In that case, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance should partially or fully cover your wages while you’re unable to work. Workers’ compensation claim benefits reimburse those who seek compensation for their medical costs and lost wages.

You could also be eligible for temporary disability benefits as you take time off work to heal from your injuries. If your employer or their insurer refuses to cover your work injury and related medical treatments, then you could sue them and pursue a potential settlement or judgment in court. The insurance company has lawyers ready to litigate on their behalf, let Grossman Law Offices to do the same for you. 

Can I sue my employer?

Employees aren’t allowed to sue their employers over workplace injuries unless the employer deliberately and knowingly causes harm to the employee. Workers’ comp insurance operates under a no-fault system, meaning the employee doesn’t have to prove fault when pursuing benefits. 

How Long Do I Have to Sue for Work-Related Injuries?

The statute of limitations varies from state to state. In California, claimants have one year from the date of the accident to file a claim. The Grossman Law Offices are prepared to protect your access to rightful compensation when employers fail to provide a safe environment for workers. 

Should I Hire a Workers’ Comp Attorney?

If your injury was minor and inexpensive, then seeking the help of an attorney may not be necessary. However, suppose you’ve suffered a severe injury or occupational disease that requires extensive recovery and medical treatment. In that case, speaking with an attorney about your legal rights can be a smart decision. 

What is a pre-existing condition?

A pre-existing condition is any health condition someone has before enrolling in a health insurance plan. 

Should I mention my previous injuries to my doctor?

When you get your medical evaluation, the doctor’s report will explain the extent of your injuries.  It is essential that you communicate all injuries to their full extent. For this reason, it’s important to report any pre-existing conditions or any previous work injuries. 

Since the employer’s insurance company will use this information against your claim to determine fair compensation coverage and benefits, it’s paramount that your claim includes all of the viable information. 

Can I use my own doctor?

If you want your employer’s insurers to cover your work-related injuries, then you’ll have to use the physicians they recommend. If you need emergency treatment, call 911 or go to an emergency room right away, but if not, go to the physicians provided to you by your employer and their human resources personnel. 

What kind of work-related injuries are not covered?

Accidents caused by drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicants are unlikely to be covered by worker’s compensation insurance. If the injury occurs on a break or lunch away from the workplace or during a commute, it may not be covered. Speak with a legal professional for specific questions about your work-related injuries.

What happens if my employer doesn’t have workers comp insurance?

California employers are required by law to have workers’ compensation insurance, even if they have only one employee. If their employees get hurt or sick because of work, they are required to pay for workers’ compensation benefits.

If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury claim or a personal injury lawsuit, depending on the specifics of your injuries. 

Suing an employer is a much longer process than regular workers’ compensation. 

The Grossman Law Office has experience proving how employers were at fault for an injury accident. Speaking with one of our workers’ comp attorneys could help you get the process started on workers’ compensation benefits immediately. 

What is the difference between workers’ comp and disability?

Workers’ compensation only covers work-related injury or sickness. Disability insurance replaces a portion of your income from all types of injuries or illnesses, not just the ones that occur on your job. 

What are my rights against third parties responsible for my work injury?

Sometimes an on-the-job injury is caused by the fault or negligence of a third party, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or the driver of a delivery truck. You may have the right to bring an injury claim against that person or entity. You also have the right to have a work injury attorney represent you throughout the legal process.