How long do I have to report a work-related injury?
You have 30 days from the date of the accident to report your injury to your employer.
Is there anything else I need to do when filing a workers’ compensation claim?
Yes. You will also have to file a DWC-1 claim form, also known as a California workers’ compensation claim form.
What happens if I don’t file a workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of the injury?
If you don’t file a workers’ compensation claim within 30 days of the injury, you may not be able to collect workers’ compensation benefits unless you can prove that your employer knew about the injury within the 30-day time period.
What if my employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance?
If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance coverage and was not self-insured, you have the right to file suit in civil court for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
What if the workers’ compensation insurance company denies my claim?
If the workers’ compensation insurance company denies your claim, you may request a hearing before the California Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
Do I have to see a doctor in order to claim my workers’ compensation benefits?
Yes. After you report your injury to your doctor, you will be instructed to see a physician in your employer’s network. The doctor will examine you and write a report that you must give to your employer to turn into their insurance provider.
Can’t I see my own doctor instead?
There are several ways in which you can see your own physician as opposed to one in your employer’s network. If your health insurance is covered by your employer, you can predesignate your primary care physician before an injury occurs by filling out a DWC Form 9783.
If you didn’t predesignate a doctor, the only way you can opt out of seeing a doctor in your employer’s network is if they didn’t handle the workers’ compensation process properly. Examples of this include if they failed to inform you of the ability to predesignate, didn’t report your injury to their insurance provider, or somehow otherwise failed to alert you of your rights.
What can I do if I disagree with the physician’s diagnosis of my injury?
In the event that you feel you haven’t received a fair or accurate examination, you may request a secondary examination from another doctor from the insurance company. If you are working with us, we will file this request for you and choose an agreed-upon provider with the insurance company.
My appeal to the Worker’s Comp Appeals Board (WCAB) was denied but I feel as though the judge overlooked key evidence. What can I do?
You may file a Petition for Reconsideration under a specific set of conditions if you disagree with a denial from the appeals board. Essentially, you may only file a petition if you have discovered new evidence that supports your case after filing your initial appeal or if you feel that a piece of evidence doesn’t line up with the judge’s ruling. In this case, it is absolutely your best option to retain an experienced workers’ compensation attorney.
Am I required to work with a workers’ compensation attorney to help me through this process?
No. However, your chances of collecting the benefits you need are greatly increased if you have someone with extensive knowledge of the laws and policies at play representing you.