If you become injured at work, it’s important that you know what to do in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In this post, we’ll clearly explain the steps you need to take so that you are prepared in the unfortunate event that you suffer a work injury in the future, though we certainly hope that doesn’t happen to you.
1. Get necessary medical treatment as soon as possible.
First and foremost, do whatever you need to do to address the injury and prevent further damage. If it is an emergency situation requiring immediate treatment, California law allows you to seek help from any medical institution and requires your employer to pay any bill related to initial treatment. If your injury is minor, you may need to seek help from a physician pre-approved by your employer.
2. Report the injury.
If they don’t already know about it, you need to report your injury to your employer within 30 days of it occurring or being diagnosed with a work injury. You can report it later, however, failure to report will jeopardize your workers’ compensation claim. Consult an attorney about your rights regarding reporting times.
Several provisions exempt you from the 30-day limit, including:
- If your employer’s insurance company provided benefits after the injury, you have five years from the date of injury to officially file your claim.
- If the insurance company either ignored or denied your report of injury or request for benefits, you have one year from the date of injury to officially file your claim.
- If you are trying to collect benefits on behalf of a relative who died due to a work-related injury, you have one year from the date of death to officially file your claim.
3. File an official claim.
After you’ve reported your injury and received medical care, you’ll need to fill out the appropriate paperwork in order to receive benefits from your employer’s insurance provider. You’ll need to acquire the following forms and submit them together:
You must give the DWC-1 claim form to your employer, but be sure to keep a copy.
4. Monitor the insurance provider’s response closely.
After you’ve filed your claim, the insurance company has 90 days to either accept or reject your claim. If they are investigating the claim, they have 90 days to reach a conclusion. During that time, however, you are entitled to up to $10,000 in medical treatment reimbursement.
5. Hire a workers’ compensation attorney.
If at any point in this process you hit roadblocks or feel as though your employer is hindering your ability to get benefits, contact Accident Recovery Legal Center. We can help you with all stages of the workers’ compensation journey and take your employer to court if necessary.