Attorney Esequiel Solorio is a certified specialist in workers’ compensation law as certified by The State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization.

What to do if your employer blames you for your workplace injury

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | workers' compensation

Dealing with a workplace injury is stressful enough, but it becomes even more challenging if your employer tries to place the blame on you. Understanding your rights and knowing how to navigate this situation under California’s workers’ compensation laws is crucial.

Understand your rights under California workers’ comp laws

In California, workers’ compensation operates as a no-fault system, meaning that you receive benefits regardless of who caused the injury. The primary goal is to provide financial support and medical care to injured workers. Employers and their insurance companies cannot deny your claim solely based on fault.

Report the injury immediately

As soon as you suffer an injury, report the incident to your employer. California law requires you to inform your employer about your injury within 30 days, but it’s best to do so as soon as possible. Failing to report promptly can give your employer grounds to argue against your claim.

Document everything

Keep detailed records of the incident, your injuries, and any communication with your employer. Documentation should include:

  • The date, time, and location of the incident
  • Names of any witnesses
  • Medical records and doctor’s notes
  • Emails or messages exchanged with your employer regarding the injury

Seek medical treatment

Obtain medical treatment immediately after the injury. Your health and safety are the top priority, and timely medical documentation will support your claim. Make sure to follow all prescribed treatments and keep records of all medical visits and expenses.

File a workers’ compensation claim

Complete a DWC-1 claim form and submit it to your employer. This form officially starts your workers’ compensation claim in California. After receiving the form, your employer forwards it to their insurance company. Filing this form protects your rights and ensures your claim is processed correctly.

Respond to employer allegations

If your employer accuses you of causing your injury, remain calm and rely on the no-fault nature of California’s workers’ compensation system. Politely remind your employer of the no-fault system, provide your documentation and medical records to support your claim, and avoid engaging in arguments or confrontations.

Utilize available resources

California offers resources to help you through the workers’ compensation process. The Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) provides assistance, and you can contact the Information and Assistance Unit for guidance.

Protect your rights after a workplace injury

Facing blame for a workplace injury can be daunting, but knowing your rights and following the proper steps helps you navigate the situation effectively. California’s workers’ compensation laws protect you, ensuring you receive the support and benefits you need during your recovery.