California Workers' Compensation Claims
UPDATED: March 10, 2020
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California workers' compensation claims are submitted by employees who have been injured in workplace accidents or who have been exposed to conditions at their jobs that cause occupational illnesses. Any workers' comp claim in California must be completed and submitted to the California Division of Workers' Compensation (DWC). As in most states, California mandates that employers carry workers' compensation insurance so that in the event workers are injured or become ill on the job, they can receive medical care, replacement income, and long-term disability treatment if necessary. Death benefits are also available for the family of the deceased. Generally, having a California workers' compensation lawyer at your side during the claims process is advisable in case your employer contests your claim or your employer's insurance provider is difficult to deal with and refuses to pay the benefits to which you are entitled.
Process for California Workers' Compensation Claims
Tell Your Employer about Your Injury
In California, you have 30 days to inform your employer that you have been injured or fallen ill for a work-related reason. If you fail to mention your injury or illness to your employer within this time period, you will not be able to receive workers' compensation benefits because you will be statutorily barred from doing so.
File Your Claim
To file a claim for workers' compensation you should complete DWC Form 1 and submit it to the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation. You will not get workers' compensation benefits if you do not file this form within one year of your injury or the discovery of your illness.
Seek Medical Help Immediately
When you go to get medical treatment for your injury or illness, you should mention to the treating physician that you were injured at work, or that you have become ill because of your exposure to a chemical or a hazardous condition at work. If you want to succeed in your workers' compensation claim, it's imperative that you get immediate medical attention because it provides evidence for your claim. Immediate medical attention is, of course, also advisable for reducing the risk of further injury to yourself.
A California workers' comp attorney should be consulted if you want to file a claim for workers' compensation, if your claim has been contested, or if you have filed a claim and your claim has been denied.
Reasons to Hire a California Workers' Compensation Attorney
Before you file a claim for workers' compensation in California, you should consider hiring an experienced California workers' compensation attorney. Workers' compensation cases can become very complicated if your employer does not have insurance, is underinsured, or is uncooperative and refuses to believe that you have been injured. Having an attorney in any of these instances will help ease your stress so you can focus on recovering from your injury or illness. An attorney can use his or her experience to help guide you through the California workers' compensation process, filing your case with the California Department of Industrial Relations, and coming up with a strategy for your case if contested.