If you work for the federal government and you’ve been injured on the job, you probably have questions about what steps you should take. It’s incredibly important to act quickly to make sure you preserve your claim to full workers’ compensation benefits. Here is a summary of what you need to know.
1. Before you do anything else, report your injury
If your injuries are severe or life-threatening, dial 911. If they are less severe, immediately notify your supervisor about your injury. If you have a health office at your workplace, that should be your first stop.
2. Determine the cause of your injury
If you’re a federal employee and have been injured during the scope of your employment and no one else caused the injury, you can file for federal workers’ compensation benefits. Keep in mind that if you were engaged in willful misconduct, were intoxicated, or had the intent to harm yourself or others, your benefits may be denied.
Remember also that you can’t sue the federal government for your injury. However, if someone else caused your injury, determine whether they were working for the federal government. If they were, you should pursue a federal workers’ comp claim. If they weren’t, you may be able to sue that person or their employer for negligence or make another type of personal injury claim.
3. Complete Form CA-1
The next step is to complete a Federal Employee’s Notice of Traumatic Injury and Claim for Continuation of Pay/Compensation form, known as form CA-1. You should fill out this form if you have an injury that occurred during a single work shift.
If you have a work-related disease or condition, you should fill out form CA-2 instead, which is called the Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation. Fill this form out if you have a medical condition that developed over multiple shifts.
Make a copy of the form, then submit the form to your supervisor. The supervisor will fill out their portion of the form and then send the entire packet to the appropriate Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP) district office.
You have three years from the date of your injury to fill out this form.
If you’re no longer employed by the federal government when you fill out the form, you must still submit the form through your former employer.
4. Visit a physician of your choice
Choose a medical provider and begin treatment for your injury. It’s best if your provider has experience with federal workers’ comp procedures and forms, so they can provide sufficient documentation to support your claim.
5. Wait for the investigation result
The regional OWCP office will send you a letter that assigns a claim number and basic information about federal workers’ comp benefits that may be available to you. OWCP investigators will then begin investigating your claim.
The OWCP may come back to you and request additional information, or it may approve or deny your claim. If your claim is denied, you can file an appeal.
You may need the help of an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer
If your federal workers’ comp claim is denied or if you’re a federal employee who has suffered a serious injury, you may need advice from a lawyer who has handled federal workers’ compensation cases. Your attorney can suggest next steps, help you request a review from the OWCP, and file an appeal with the Employees’ Compensation Appeal Board if necessary.
To learn more about how Hunter & Everage’s experienced federal workers’ compensation lawyers can help you with your injury claim, visit our website or give us a call: 704-251-2945 in Charlotte and 804-297-0838 in Richmond.