When an Injury Occurs – Employee Responsibility and Employer Responsibility

Work-related injuries have steadily declined in recent years. This is due to advances in technology, better training, and improved awareness about how to prevent such injuries. Despite the decline in rates of industrial injuries, these injuries do still occur, and it is important to know the responsibility and duty of both the employee and employer when injuries happen.

The first responsibility belongs to employer. At the time of hiring an employee, an employer should  provide the employee with written notice concerning the employee’s rights and obligations under workers’ compensation law. Next, after an injury occurs, the employee must actually report the injury. The employee should tell the employer of the injury as soon as possible after the injury occurs. Similarly, if the employer believes that the employee requires medical assistance, the employer is required to arrange for treatment.  After actual notice of the injury, the employer must then provide the employee with specific forms, as directed under California law. These forms will have the employee describe the time, place, and manner of the injury and how it occurred.

The human resources department must then report the injury to the WC Insurance company, to coordinate treatment for the employee’s injury. Medical treatment may be coordinated with the medical facility or physician in the employer’s Medical Provider Network (MPN). Alternatively, it may be coordinated with the employee’s physician or medical provider, as pre-designated by the employee, using a specific form. In order to use the employee’s own physician, the employee must have pre-designated this physician or medical facility before sustaining the injury, and the physician must have conveyed that he or she is actually willing to provide treatment in the event of work-related injury.

After the employee receives treatment from a physician, the employee must report the results to the employer. The employee needs to tell the employer what the physician advised in terms of returning to work and the employee’s ability to carry out work responsibilities. All time off from work must be reported using specific forms. Moreover, the employee needs to get statements from his or her physician each time the employee is seen for the work-related injury. The physician must fill out specific forms and forward this form to the employer.

At the time of the injury, the employer provides specific forms to the employee, including the workers’ compensation claim form and notice of potential eligibility. Once the employer receives these forms back from the injured employee, the employer has limited time to send these forms in to the state. Between receipt of the  claim form  and the date of the  workers’ compensation claim is denied, the employer is responsible for paying up to $10,000 of the employee’s medical costs.

This is simply a brief overview of the initial responsibilities incumbent upon each party in the event of a work-related injury. Contact me today at (714) 516-8188 to more thoroughly review your business’s responsibilities in the event of an employee injury.

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