Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that provides wage replacement and medical benefits to employees after a work injury.
When a workers’ compensation claim is eligible, the employer or insurance carrier must pay the injured employee for time away from work and medical expenses related to the work injury.
Workers’ compensation laws are complex and the filing process can be confusing. For this reason, workers’ compensation claims are often denied.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
The most important thing you can do after getting injured at work is to tell your employer: supervisor, manager or HR Department right away. Typically you have 30 days after being injured to notify your employer or you run the risk of losing your right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Ideally, you should do this prior to seeking medical treatment unless you have a medical emergency. You will need to be evaluated by a doctor approved by your employer’s insurance company if you want to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Your employer may refer you to a doctor who is part of its medical provider network. You will need to be evaluated by this doctor but workers’ compensation law allows you to be treated by your private doctor.
Workers’ compensation doctors have to answer to insurance companies and this could affect their level of care, this is important for you as an injured worker to consider.
Once you’ve been treated, you will need to provide the following to your employer:
- A DWC-1 claim form
- An Application for Adjudication of Claim
- A Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g)
- A document cover sheet and document separator sheets
Your employer will provide this to the workers’ compensation insurance company to start the claims process.
While the time you have to file a claim is limited, the claims application process can be complicated. That’s why it’s important to make sure you gather all of your documentation and file everything correctly.
When to File a California Workers’ Compensation Claim
This is very important: If you are planning to file a workers’ compensation claim, you must file your DWC-1 form within 30 days of your injury. If this time has elapsed your claim may be denied for exceeding the “statute of limitations.”
If you miss the deadline, there are some circumstances in which you may be excused for missing he deadline. One of those reasons is that your employer did not properly advise you of your right to file a workers’ compensation claim.
Every case is different and for this reason it’s beneficial to consult with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.
What Workers’ Compensation Benefits Can I Receive?
As part of the workers’ compensation claim, you’re typically entitled to four types of workers’ compensation benefits:
- Compensation for lost wages
- Payment or reimbursement of medical expenses
- Disability benefits
To learn more about your rights as an injured employee and discover what benefits you may be owed, call today for a free consultation with a workers’ compensation lawyer.
Disclaimer: This article provides a general overview of the workers’ compensation claim process. It is not intended as specific legal advice for any particular case.