If you have suffered a workplace injury that requires medical treatment, you may have a workers’ comp claim. To secure financial recovery for your work injuries, you will need to file a workers’ compensation claim. There are strict notice and filing requirements that must be followed so that you do not lose the right to receive workers’ comp benefits.
Our work comp team at the Law Office of Joseph Kritzer helps injured employees with their claims, medical care, appeals, and settlement negotiations because the process can be complicated and important deadlines must be met in order to recover the compensation that you deserve.
See below for the initial steps that must be taken when making a workers’ compensation claim in California.
Emergency Medical Treatment
If your injuries or illness requires emergency medical care, seek treatment first. Under California work comp law, emergency medical treatment for injured employees is covered, and you should make sure that the emergency medical providers know that your injuries are related to your job.
If you need medical treatment, but it is not an emergency, you will probably need to wait for treatment by an approved medical provider after you have notified your employer.
Notify Your Employer
Notify your employer within 30 days of discovering your injury so that you do not lose your right to compensation. We recommend that rather than waiting 30 days, you report your injuries as soon as possible to get your claim moving.
After you have notified your employer, they are required to provide you with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1). If they do not provide you with the form, you may print one from the California Department of Industrial Relations website.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim Form
After you complete the ’employee’ section of the claim form, you will give the form to your employer. Keep a signed and dated copy for your records. Your employer is required to fill out the form as well and give you a signed copy within one day of receiving your form.
It is important to keep the copy signed by your employer to use as evidence to prove that you filed the claim if necessary.
Wait For A Response
After you file the claim with your employer, you should expect a response from the insurance company within 90 days. The insurance company will either accept your claim or deny your claim. If the insurance company does not respond within 90 days, it is generally presumed that your claim has been accepted.
If your claim is accepted, your necessary medical care will be covered, and if you missed work because of your injuries, you might also be entitled to compensation for lost wages.
If your claim is denied, your additional medical expenses will not be covered by workers’ compensation, but you do have the right to challenge that denial. Appealing a claim denial can be challenging, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help to make the process easier and more likely to be successful.