Steps to Take After a Workplace Injury
- Report your work-related injury or illness to your employer and request a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1).
- Your employer should provide you a DWC 1 form or you can obtain a form from the State Board of Industrial Relations.
- Fill out and sign the employee section of the form and return it to your employer immediately. Be sure to describe your injury and every part of your body that is affected.
- Keep a copy. If you mail the form, send it certified mail so that you have a return receipt.
- Your employer has 24 hours to complete the employer portion of the claim form. Be sure to keep a copy.
- If you need medical attention, inform your employer immediately. You can see your own doctor if you have filled out a Personal Physician Pre-Designation form with your employer prior to the accident. If you did not file such a form, request that your employer send you to a doctor as soon as possible. Medical treatment must be provided within 24 hours of filing the claim.
- Be sure to inform the doctor how the injury occurs and what parts of your body were affected. Inform the doctor that the injury occurred at work. Keep copies of all notes and off-work slips given to you by the doctor.
- Keep records of the dates of medical treatment, mileage and out-of-pocket medical expenses.
- Before selecting a doctor from the State Panel Qualified Medical Examiner list, consult an attorney who specializes in workers’ compensation.
California Labor Code 132a states plainly that there shall be no discrimination against workers injured on the job. Unfortunately, some employers disregard the law. If you believe that you have been fired or punished as a result of a work related injury, you need a strong legal advocate to assert your rights.
At the Law Office of Richard J. Meechan, we want you to understand your rights.
It’s against the law for an employer to dismiss you for having a job injury or for claiming workers’ compensation benefits.
It’s also against the law for an employer to terminate or punish a co-worker who testifies on your behalf about a workplace accident.
If you work for a company with 50 or more employees, you also may have a right to unpaid leave if you need additional time off to recover from a serious medical condition, without losing your job. The California Family Rights Act and the federal Family and Medical Leave Act state that an employer with 50 or more employees must allow you to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.
If you are left with a disability after a workplace accident, the California Fair employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibit your employer from discriminating against you because of a serious disability. Unfortunately, workers’ compensation judges do not enforce FEHA law. We solve this problem by filing cases both as 132a violations at the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board and civil cases under FEHA in Superior Court.
You may have a case if you:
- Believe that your employer is treating you unfairly after a workplace injury or attempting to withhold benefits.
- Have been dismissed as a result of getting injured on the job and being unable to work.
- Suspect that the claims examiner is treating you unfairly after a workplace injury or denying benefits unfairly.
- Have a permanent disability that causes pain and limits the type of work that you can perform.
The best way to understand whether you have a case is to have an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer provide a free evaluation of the specific facts of your accident and explain your legal option.
California’s workers’ compensation system can seem confusing if you are unfamiliar with it. Dealing with the paperwork and constant filing deadlines can feel overwhelming, particularly if you are struggling to recover from a serious accident. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney will be your advocate.
Attorney Richard J. Meechan has more than 30 years of experience representing injured workers and is certified by the State Bar of California as a workers’ compensation specialist.
We will review the specifics of your accident and develop a strategy for pursing your claim. We will gather information and evidence to support your claim. We know the kind of information that workers’ compensation judges look for in order to approve claims.
If a further medical evaluation is needed, we can arrange for you to visit a medical doctor for a second opinion. We will keep track of the many deadlines for filing certain documents to keep your claim on track.
We will represent you at hearings before a workers’ compensation judge and guide you through the process, keeping you informed at every step. After reviewing your particular injury, we may also inform you of other benefits that are available to you.
Contact the Law Office of Richard J. Meechan to receive a free consultation about your workers’ compensation claim. We work to guard the rights of injured workers.