The first and most important thing to do after any motor vehicle accident is to get all necessary medical help. If able, call the police and make sure an accident report is filed. There are other steps that can be taken to help you make a legal case for compensation if it comes to that.
Take notes and photos, including details about potential witnesses.
- Save all paperwork the incident generates, including receipts for related expenses, and keep a record of all lost wages.
- Be careful what you say, and don’t admit fault.
The California Department of Industrial Relations provides some good advice and information for occupational injury victims:
- Your employer must give or mail you a workers’ comp benefits application form within a day of you reporting your injury.
- If your employer does not give you a claim form, get one from a workers’ comp information and assistance officer. Read everything that comes with the claim form.
- Fill out and sign the employee portion of the form. Describe injuries thoroughly. Include every part of your body affected by the accident. Give the form to your employer. This is called filing the claim form.
- If you mail the form to your employer, use first-class or certified mail and buy a return receipt.
The victim isn’t the only person with an after-accident to-do list. Your employer must:
- Provide a workers’ compensation claim form to you within one working day after a work-related injury or illness is reported
- Return a completed copy of the claim form to you within one working day of receipt
- Forward the claim form, along with the employer’s report of occupational injury or illness, to the claims administrator within one working day of receipt
- Within one day of receiving your claim, authorize up to $10,000 in appropriate medical treatment
- Provide transitional work (light duty) whenever appropriate
- If you are the victim of a crime that happened at work, the employer must give notice of workers’ compensation eligibility within one working day of the crime.
Injuries from a work-related car accident can alter lives beyond recognition. One way to deal with financial damage is to get a qualified workers’ compensation law team on your side.