Under the California Workers Compensation Act, your employer is mandated by law to provide medical treatment and pay workers compensation benefits for any work related injuries. The only obligation you have as an injured employee is to file a claim for these benefits in a timely manner.
After an Injury Occurs
If you are injured at work, you should seek medical treatment immediately. If the injury is deemed an emergency, you can go anywhere to receive medical treatment and your employer must pay. When the injury isn’t serious enough to warrant emergency medical attention, the employer may require that you go to a specific medical facility for treatment.
In either case, once you arrive at the treatment facility, it is your responsibility to let the treating physician know that the injury is work-related. You also need to notify your employer that you have been injured at work as soon as possible with 30 days being the maximum amount of time allowed for you to report the injury. Failure to report injuries in a timely manner will unnecessarily delay your benefits and in some cases, could result in the loss of workers compensation benefits altogether.
During this time, you should also contact an experienced accident lawyer that specializes in the often complicated process of filing a workers compensation claim. He or she can provide guidance throughout the filing process that will help you avoid potentially costly mistakes.
Filing the Claim
Even though you have reported your injury to both the employer and the doctor, you haven’t actually filed a workers compensation claim at this point. The claim process doesn’t actually begin until the following documents have been filed by either yourself or your work injury lawyer:
- DWC-1 claim form
- Application for Adjudication of Claim
- Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g)
- Document cover sheet
- Document separator sheets
In most injury cases, the workers compensation claim should be filed within 30 days of the work related injury. This ensures the timely receipt of any benefits you may be entitled to as a result of your claim. There is a statute of limitations on workers compensation claims (ranging from one to five years depending on the circumstances) that could result in your claim being denied even if you would have been entitled to benefits for your work related injury.