If you are injured at work and you want to qualify for California workers’ compensation benefits, reporting a workplace injury is a two-stage process. First, you must tell your employer about the injury. Depending on your employer, this may or may not mean completing extensive paperwork and meeting a deadline. Secondly, you have to file a workers’ compensation claim. It’s important to have an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney assist you when you’re filing this claim.
For workers’ comp purposes, employers in California need written notice of your injury within 30 days of the date you’re injured. For injuries that emerge slowly over time, you must report your injury within 30 days of the date you first suffer a temporary disability (the date you first miss work or seek treatment) because of the injury. If you belong to a union, you should also report your injury to your union representative immediately. You also must file a California workers’ comp DWC-1 claim form. Give the DWC-1 form to your employer, who will forward it to the insurance company. Under California law, workers’ comp applicants have a year to file the DWC-1 claim form, but doing it sooner rather than later will help expedite your benefits.
If you don’t notify your employer about your injury within 30 days, you may not qualify for benefits (medical expenses or cash benefits) under the workers’ compensation program in California. However, if you failed to report an injury within 30 days, talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney who knows the ins and outs of the system. You may still be able to obtain benefits. A good workers’ comp lawyer can evaluate your situation and provide the sound legal counsel you need. If you’re injured at a workplace in California, get some good, specific advice and talk with an experienced California workers’ compensation attorney right away.