WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE
INJURED AT WORK
Report the injury
immediately or as soon as possible to a supervisor or some other
person in charge. Reporting the injury to a co-worker is not
sufficient under California case law.
Request a claim
form (DWC-1) as soon as possible. Keep a copy for yourself.
If the employer
refuses to provide a claim form, send the employer a letter by
certified mail return receipt or hand deliver the letter to the
employer and write down a note of the date, time, and the name of
the person to whom you delivered the letter. The letter should
indicate the date of your injury, and the parts of the body injured.
Get the names and
telephone numbers of any witnesses if possible. Many times,
witnesses will be co-workers and may not be willing to cooperate for
fear of losing their job.
treatment as soon as possible after the injury occurs. If your
employer refuses to provide treatment, go to an emergency room such
as Olive View, High Desert Medical Center, County USC, Riverside
Community, or Arrowhead Regional as soon as possible. You can go to
any medical provider such as a walk in clinic. Be sure to tell the
doctor that your injury occurred at work. It is important that you
give a correct and complete injury of the injury. Also, it is
important to tell the first doctor(s) you treat with all of your
symptoms. It is difficult to add other body parts to a claim if
there are no complaints of pain close in time to the injury in many
WARNING – Under California law, no compensation or medical treatment
is allowed for a workers’ compensation claim that is reported after
the termination of employment or notice of termination of employment
subject to certain limited exceptions. REPORT YOUR INJURY BEFORE
YOU ARE TERMINATED BY YOUR EMPLOYER OR YOU WILL LIKELY LOOSE YOUR
RIGHTS UNDER THE WORKERS COMPENSATION LAWS.
If your injury is
likely to result in either permanent impairment or an inability to
do the job you had when you were injured, you should contact an
attorney. In many cases, you will not know if your have permanent
impairment until a month or two after your injury. A good rule is
to give treatment a chance to work for 30 days. If you are not
better and have not returned to work, there is a reasonable chance
that you will have permanent impairment and possible diminished
future earnings capacity.
PSYCHIATRIC INJURY –
STRESS CLAIMS – MENTAL/MENTAL
Law, for a psychiatric injury to be compensable, the following
requirements must be satisfied:
employment must be six months or more.
employee must have a psychiatric condition that is listed in DSM IV
c. The employee must prove that
the actual events of employment are the predominant cause of the
psychiatric condition (51% or more)
d. A psychiatric condition that is
substantially caused (35%--45%) by good faith, non discriminatory
personnel action(s) is not compensable as a work-related injury.
Examples of good faith personnel actions are criticism of the
employee’s work or attendance, change in work assignments, and
decision about raises or promotion. The employer has the burden of
proof on this issue.
e. A psychiatric injury that is
caused by the litigation process is not compensable. Examples of
psychiatric injury caused by the litigation process are an employees
reaction to the denial of their claim, dealing with an abusive claims
adjuster, or having their benefits terminated.
f. A stress claim or
mental--mental psychiatric injury claim filed after termination or
notice of termination is not compensable unless the employer know of
the injury or medical records of treatment for the psychiatric dated
prior to the termination exist.
“Stress” is not a psychiatric condition
listed in DSM IV. If you have not received psychiatric or
psychological counseling as a result of the psychological injury your
are alleging, your psychiatric claim likely has little merit.
If you worked at the employer for less
than two years, you will also have a more difficult time proving your
claim unless it is due to a sudden violent event.
When an employee files a psychiatric
claim, they are opening up all aspects of their life for scrutiny by
the insurance company. The insurance company will ask about your
mental health treatment history, marriage, children, parents, criminal
history, litigation history, bankruptcies among many other inquiries.
If you don’t want or feel uncomfortable disclosing this information,
you should seriously reconsider filing a psychological or stress
If your stress comes from conflict with
a supervisor or manager and the conflict concerns your attendance, job
performance, job evaluation, job assignment, or other actions that you
consider unfair, you claim will most likely be defeated under the good
faith personnel action defense. You are better off finding a job at
another employer than filing this type of stress claim.
INJURY FROM PHYSICAL INJURY – MENTAL/PHYSICAL
If you have a physical injury that is
severe enough to cause frequent pain that may result in sleep
disturbance or difficulty in performing activities of daily living,
you may have a valid psychiatric injury claim.