One of the major roadblocks that injured employees face is a mental one: not knowing whether their injury is ‘serious enough’ to warrant filing a report. Millions of people are hurt in one way or another at work, but only a fraction of those will go on to file a claim. Which injuries are and are not covered by workers compensation insurance differs by state, but overall, any injury that occurs while performing one’s regular work duties (or any disease/illness that occurs due to one’s working conditions) is eligible for further examination. Thus, any injuries that are suffered due to extraneous activities that are not related to your job may not be covered.
A good rule of thumb to remember, when assessing a jobsite injury, is whether it can be handled by a first aid kit. If your injury can be taken care of with the basic contents of this kit, like bandaids, antibiotic ointment, gauze, NSAIDs, and similar routine treatments, it likely doesn’t warrant a case. Cuts, scrapes, small wounds, or minor aches and pains are generally considered to be something that we all can deal with from time to time, and don’t typically warrant a report with your supervisor.
Injuries that arise from a single incident are often easiest to categorize. If something goes wrong on the job, and you are injured in an accident or equipment malfunction, this is pretty straightforward as far as workers compensation goes. If your injury interferes with your ability to complete a task, it should be reported right away. Additionally, any injury that requires emergency medical intervention, such as chemical burns or broken bones, are almost guaranteed to be covered by your employer’s insurance.
Other injuries that develop over time may be more difficult to prove in a legal setting. Things like carpal tunnel syndrome, pulmonary disease, cancer, and other cumulative, “occupational diseases” happen to individuals all the time. However, knowing if and when to file a claim can be the difficult part. This is often where a qualified workers compensation attorney in Southern California can help you. If you are suffering a repetitive motion injury, a decline in your health due to chemical or other environmental exposure, or other degenerative disease due to your work conditions, you should seek help.
In the end, it may be best to air on the side of “better safe than sorry” when it comes to workplace injury. If your injuries are more than a papercut, consider talking to your supervisor and finding out the company policy for jobsite injury. And when in doubt, reach out to an experienced workers compensation attorney to discuss your case. Call us at Jackson & Jackson today for your free consultation.