The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health requires all employers to provide safe work environments that are free of known hazards. You must be equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment and receive adequate safety training — including the safe operation of PPE. Compliance with the safety standards as prescribed by Cal/OSHA and federal safety agencies is crucial.
Your employer must carry workers’ compensation insurance, which will cover you in the event of an on-the-job injury. It is a no-fault system, meaning that even if you were partially to blame for your injury, you would be eligible for benefits. It also means that you cannot sue your boss for your injuries, except if you can prove gross negligence.
Your employer’s obligations
If you should be the victim of a serious workplace injury, you can expect the following from your employer:
- Call 911 and provide care to stabilize you while waiting for paramedics to arrive.
- Your employer can take you to a hospital if your injury allows transportation without jeopardizing your safety.
- Your employer might ask you to sign a waiver if you prefer not to receive medical care.
- Documentation of the circumstances that led to the accident, including witness statement from other workers and even photos if possible.
- Provide you with the necessary claim forms, and file it with the insurance provider within the time limit.
Proper documentation can protect both you and your employer when it comes to the benefits claim.
The steps you should take after an injury
Any workplace accident is serious and needs immediate action, whether a slip or trip caused you to fall, a falling object struck you or if you were involved in a crash while driving a company vehicle. The following steps are essential to avoid delays in benefit payments:
- Report the injury to your supervisor or employer as soon as possible.
- Request a workers’ compensation claim form, and file the claim within the required period.
- Cooperate with the appointed doctor and the insurance providers.
- Return to work as soon as the doctor declares you fit, and provide your employer with a letter that confirms your recovery.
Your doctor might ask your employer to put you on lighter duties for a specified time to allow full recovery, such as if you have a fractured ankle in a cast and need accommodation during that time.
What happens if your employer is uncooperative?
Some employers will do whatever they can to avoid a workers’ compensation claim because it could increase the company’s insurance premiums. However, you are entitled to benefits, and you have the right to seek legal counsel. An experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can provide support and guidance throughout the claims process to ensure that you get the benefits you deserve.