Workers’ Compensation basics (part 3)

hurted hand and work injury claim form

In the last couple weeks I have been writing about workers’ compensation and addressing some basics yet all the information will not be worth if we do not talk about what to do. I’ve talked to small business owners and most of the times they do not know what to do once an employee gets injured on the job and much less what to do during and after the employee’s injury. We can summarize it in three words: document, follow up and be flexible!

If one of your workers gets injured on the job, what should you do? Document! Provide a claim form (DWC form 1) within one working day of finding out about an injury or illness. Complete your (employer) portion of the returned claim form and give a copy to the employee. Complete form DLSR 5020 and send to the claims administrator within five days of knowing about the injury or illness. You can find all these forms on the State of California, Department of Industrial Relations’ website (

Follow up! Stay involved and maintain an open dialogue with your employee, don’t assume the claims administrator is taking care of everything! Be flexible and willing to make adjustments to the workplace to bring your employee back to the job. Help your employee return to work; thus maintaining the value of the investment you have made on the employee!

What if your employee has work restrictions? Be Flexible! If the employee’s treating doctor reports that your employee can return to work under specific work restrictions, any work you assign to the employee must meet these restrictions. If the treating doctor says your injured employee is able to work, the doctor should describe clear and specific work restrictions; changes needed in the employee’s schedule, assignments, equipment or other working conditions while recovering, etc.

No matter how big are small your company is, you need to have workers’ compensation insurance for your employees. So, you need to know what to do when (unfortunately) one of your employees need to use it. Remember to provide a claim form; maintain an open dialogue with the injured employee, be flexible and open to new ways injured employees may perform the job duties in an efficient manner!




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