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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Simple Steps to Follow When Injured on the Job

Welcome to San Diego & Imperial Counties' Work Comp Talk.

This is our maiden post.

The California Workers’ Compensation system is employer friendly.  With the radical changes put in place by former Governor Schwarzenegger, that will hopefully be remedied by Governor Brown, before you are hurt on the job, you really should plan ahead.

Hopefully you will never have a work injury, but if you do, here are some things to think about:

1. Pre-designate your doctor.  Despite your employer looking to dictate the type and extent of your medical treatment, you have the right to designate your doctor.  This way, you know that you will receive the best possible care.  You can receive this designation form from your Local Union Office.

2. Once you get injured, you must inform your supervisor right way.  Request an accident or employee claim form.  Fill it out and have your supervisor fill his/her section out and make sure to keep a copy, as it is proof that you were involved in a work injury.

3. Obtain witness statements, if possible.

4. Take photographs of the accident site right away.  A cell phone camera will do.

5. Take photographs of the body part you injured, if bruised, cut or bleeding.

6. If injured by a defective item/product, demand in writing that your employer refrain from throwing   this item/product away, or even from having it repaired.

7. Make certain that you seek immediate medical attention.

8. Obtain from your employer, a copy of the accident report, to include all photographs and witness statements.

9. Maintain a journal or diary to jot down your symptoms and frequency of pain.

10. Write down questions you have for your doctor.

11. Hire a lawyer.  Remember, your employer and it’s insurance carrier have one…so why not level the playing field?  The great part, is that if there is no settlement, you only have to pay your lawyer with a smile, as he/she gets paid only if there is a settlement.

12. It is not unusual for your employer and/or its insurance carrier to hire a private investigator.  Do not speak with them, period.  Refer them to your lawyer.  This private investigator may drive by your house; follow you to the grocery store; or even to a movie.  Since they do not post a sign on their vehicle that they have you under surveillance, if you see someone that you do not recognize in your neighborhood, parked outside your home, call the police.  As, you are disabled and cannot be certain that they are not there to commit a robbery and/or harm you.

Common Work Comp Acronyms/Terms:

a.                Apportionment
b. App:         Short for Application
c. AME:       Agreed Medical Evaluator
d. Comp:      Short for Workers’ Compensation
e. CT:          Cumulative Trauma
f. DOR:        Declaration of Readiness to Proceed
g. EDD:        Employment Development Department
h. OSHA:     Occupational Safety & Health Administration
i. PQME:      Panel Qualified Medical Evaluator
j. PD:           Permanent Disability
k. P&S:         Permanent & Stationary
l. S&W:         Serious & Willful Misconduct
m. SAWW:  State Average Weekly Wage
n. TD:          Temporary Disability
o. Voucher:   Retraining Voucher
p. UR:          Utilization Review
q. WC:         Workers’ Compensation

We welcome your input, your comments, and your ideas with regards to outstanding workers' compensation issues.

Thanks and hope you enjoyed the post!
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Legal disclaimer: Please be advised that the advice provided does not create any attorney/client relationship; that due to the various state laws that the information provided is a general overview of work comp law, which might not be applicable to you, based upon the laws of your state. We will not file anything on your behalf nor protect any statute of limitations which might arise and recommend that you IMMEDIATELY consult legal counsel for advice.