Our Los Angeles on-the-job injury lawyer is often asked, “Should I report minor workplace injuries to my employer in California?” The answer seems quite obvious – at least to many employees in our state it does. “What’s the point?” they think.
Let our workers compensation attorneys at Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach explain why it is always a good idea to notify your employer of every work-related injury, even if it’s just a minor injury such as a scratch or paper cut (after all, it could grow into a full-blown infection).
While it is true that it is unlikely that a minor injury would entitle you to workers compensation benefits, reporting a minor injury to your employer is crucial because your injury could lead to more serious problems. Our on-the-job injury attorney in Los Angeles explains that by reporting every work-related injury or illness to your employer, you are protecting your right to receive workers comp benefits.
Under the workers compensation system in California, employers have a legal duty to pay for the medical treatment of their employees’ work-related injuries and illnesses when that treatment is required to “cure or relieve the effects of the injury or illness.”
Prior to providing medical treatment, the workers injury is assessed as part of the medical evaluation known as the medical treatment utilization schedule (MTUS), which was adopted and is overseen by the Division of Workers Compensation.
When an employer is notified about a work-related injury or illness, he or she is required to arrange a medical evaluation and, if the injury or illness was caused by workplace conditions or unreasonable hazards at work, the employer must arrange and pay for medical treatment.
“By reporting a work-related injury or illness – even a minor one – you can ensure that your workers comp claim will not be denied or minimized in the long run,” explains our workers compensation attorney in Los Angeles. “Immediately reporting a workplace injury or illness to your employer removes all doubt about the employer’s obligation to provide and pay for medical treatment.”
If your employer refuses to provide and pay for medical treatment after he or she has been notified about your on-the-job injury, you can seek treatment at your own expense. Afterward, you may have a right to file a workers compensation claim to obtain reimbursement for your medical expenses. Whether or not you will be reimbursed depends on whether the insurance company’s claims adjuster or the judge determines that the treatment for the injury or illness was reasonably required and that the injury or illness is work-related.
In other words, by notifying your employer of your minor injury, you protect your right to be treated for the injury at your employer’s expense.
But what’s the point in reporting minor injuries? Let our Los Angeles on-the-job injury attorney explain. First and foremost, only a qualified medical professional can determine whether or not your injury is minor. Unless you have a medical license, you never know for sure that your workplace injury is minor or severe.
One of the most obvious examples is when an employee incurs a minor puncture wound, cut, abrasion, scrape, or scratch in the workplace. Unless the minor injury is treated immediately, the wound might become infected, which, in turn, might cause the employee to miss work due to serious health complications.
By reporting your minor injury to the employer as soon as possible, you can document the fact that the injury occurred at work, which is critical considering how many workers comp claims are denied based on the employee’s lack of evidence that the injury or illness occurred in the workplace, and not somewhere outside of work and/or outside of any functions relating to the workplace.
Prior to reporting your minor or serious injury or illness to your employer in Los Angeles or elsewhere in California, consult with our lawyers at the Law Offices of Kropach & Kropach. Get a free consultation by calling at 818-609-7005 today.