How to File a Workplace Injury in California

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How to File a Workplace Injury in California

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Posted By DAM Firm | October 3 2022 | Workers' Comp

If you or somebody you care about sustains an injury at work, it is crucial that various steps are followed so that you can recover compensation. Just about every employer in California is required to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their employees, but reporting the workplace injury and the processes that occur in the weeks following the incident can be confusing. Here, we want to discuss how to file a workplace injury claim in California.

How Quickly Do You Need to Report an Injury?

It is crucial for work injury victims to report the incident as soon as possible. In California, workplace injuries must be reported within 30 days from the incident occurring. This report needs to be made to a supervisor or the employer so they can begin the process on their end of preparing for a workers’ compensation claim. We strongly encourage all individuals to report the injury as soon as possible, even on the same day of the injury, if they can.

This 30-day deadline is not the same as the workers’ compensation statute of limitations in California. Even after the initial report, workers have one year from the date the incident occurs to file the workers’ compensation claim.

Filing the Claim

After a workplace injury occurs and the report is made to the employer, the employer should give the employee a claim form. Additionally, the claim form can be downloaded from this forms page from the DWC. 

The injured worker should only fill out the “employee” section of the form and then send it to their employer immediately. It is vital for the injured worker to sign and date the claim form and to keep a copy for their records. The form can be returned to the employer in person or by mail, but if it is sent by mail, individuals should use certified mail and return receipt requested. That way, they have a record of the date it was mailed and received.

Within one day of filing a claim form, the employer is required to authorize the appropriate medical treatment. While the employer has more time to decide whether to accept or reject the claim, the injured worker can receive up to $10,000 in medical treatment.

If an injured worker has filed a claim form in their employer does not deny the claim within 90 days, then the injury will be presumed to be covered.

What Happens Then?

After the employee sends the claims form to the employer, the employer should fill out the “employer” section of the form and then forward the completed form to the insurance carrier. The injured worker should receive a copy of the completed form from the employer, but if they do not, they should request a copy for their records.

Typically, the insurance carrier has 14 days to mail the injured worker a letter updating them about the status of their claim. If the injured worker does not receive this letter, they should call the insurance carrier to ask for a status update.

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