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What should you do after an employee injury?

When a worker is injured on the job, you have several responsibilities as a California employer. Here are some of the steps you should take when an employee comes to you with a workplace injury.

According to the United States Department of Justice, your primary concern after an injury in the workplace should be to ensure that your employee has sufficient medical care. In a non-emergency scenario, you may be able to discuss what happened with your employee; however, if medical attention is needed, you need to ascertain whether the employee can drive and, if not, arrange for transportation to a health care facility.

All illnesses or injuries that are work-related should be reported through the Department of Labor’s Employees’ Compensation Operations and Management Portal no later than three years after the incident, even if no medical costs or loss of work time ensued. To ensure that the proper paperwork is filed, you and the injured employee may wish to work together. You will need to determine whether the incident involved a traumatic injury—that is, a one-time workplace accident that resulted in injury—or an occupational condition caused by ongoing job duties, such as computer usage that leads to carpal tunnel. The form to be filed depends upon the category of injury.

You also need to document the date of the injury and, if the employee is unable to return to work immediately, determine whether he or she is eligible for continuation of pay or leave without pay. After a traumatic injury, your employee may be qualified to receive continued pay during leave if he or she files the correct forms within 30 days of the injury. Additionally, within 90 days of the injury, the employee must provide you with medical documentation that validates the necessity of a leave of absence not longer than 45 days.

If you question the validity of your employee’s workplace injury claim, you should not try to stop him or her from filling that claim. Indeed, you are legally required to provide help with the paperwork. As soon as possible after the incident, however, you need to collect statements from witnesses to obtain facts about the incident that will help you fight compensation demands. If you delay, you may have difficulty reversing the Department of Labor’s adjudication in regard to the claim.

This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended as legal advice.

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