Construction sites are filled with all sorts of potential hazards. But falls remain among the top causes of workplace injuries in such sites. Construction workers often must work from elevated positions or near holes, so the risk of a fall is always present.
Knowing how to navigate the workers’ compensation process is important if you’ve suffered a fall injury while working at a construction site. Familiarizing yourself with the process allows you to learn which benefits you may be entitled to.
Immediate steps after a fall
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), construction sites must have fall protection at elevations of six feet. However, even falls from much lower can still lead to injuries.
If you experience a fall at a construction site, your first priority is your health and safety. Here are the steps you should immediately take after the injury incident:
- Seek medical attention: Even if your injury appears minor, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Treating an injury early can save you from later complications.
- Report the incident: You should inform your supervisor or employer about your fall injury. California law says you only have 30 days from the date of the incident to report it.
- Document everything: Take note of every detail about the incident, including the time, where it happened, and the circumstances. Also, take note of any witnesses who may have seen the fall accident. Keep medical documentation of your injuries, as well.
You can file a claim once you’ve addressed your immediate health concerns.
Filing a workers’ comp claim
Your employer must give you a workers’ comp claim form within one day of you reporting your injury. If your employer doesn’t hand you a form, you can download a copy of the form from California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) website.
Once you’ve filled out the form, you must send it to your employer immediately to start the claims process. Your employer will fill out the other part of the form for “employers” and then send it to the insurer. At this point, your employer should also send you a copy of the completed claim form.
Awaiting acceptance from the insurer
Your employer’s insurer will review your claim to determine eligibility. It’ll look at factors such as whether the accident actually occurred at work, whether you had any pre-existing medical conditions, and so on. The insurer will mail you a letter within 14 days of submission informing you of the status of your claim.
If the insurer approves your claim, then you’ll start receiving benefits for medical expenses and lost income, among other things. If not, you still have an opportunity to appeal the denial with the DIR. Consider seeking the experience of a legal professional who can help you navigate the claims dispute process.