FOUR KEY STEPS TO FILING A
Workers’ Compensation Claim in California
If you were injured at work in the State of California, you may have the right to receive benefits for your work-related injuries. Depending on the severity of the accident, you may be facing astronomical medical bills, the inability to work resulting in lost wages, and pain and suffering. However, California workers’ compensation laws require that benefits are provided for all employees from the time they begin working at their place of employment.
4 Key Steps to Take Following An Accident At Work
If you were injured in the workplace, these are the four key steps you should follow to ensure that your legal rights are protected.
- Notify Management. If you were injured while working, you should notify your supervisor or management immediately. Your employer should have established policies in place to help you determine your next steps.
- Seek Medical Treatment. Even if your injuries only seem minor, you need to seek the opinion of a medical professional as soon as possible. Not only should you be seen to ensure that any medical issues are addressed, seeking medical attention after an accident provides a foundation upon which to build a strong workers’ compensation claim.
- Gather Witness Contact Information. In many cases, there will be witnesses to your accident in the workplace. Make sure to collect all their contact information in case they need to be interviewed for your workers’ compensation claim.
- Obtain Evidence and Documentation. If you can do so, attempt to take photographs or video of the scene of the accident immediately after you were injured. If there are any unsafe or hazardous working conditions make sure to document them to the best of your ability.
Understanding the Process of Filing a Workers Compensation Claim
Workers’ compensation claims can be challenging and complex to understand and compete correctly. However, these documents must be filled out thoroughly and correctly, otherwise, you may lose the ability to receive compensation for your injuries. In fact, even a small error could result in a denied workers’ compensation claim. Follow this process to fill out a complete workers’ compensation claim in the state of California:
1. First, fill out the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) Form 1 and submit it to your employer. Ask for this form from your employer if they do not provide one. Review it carefully. Make sure the date of injury is accurate- this should be the beginning date of the actual injury/illness-not just the date you reported the injury.
2. Next, seek treatment either through your employer or on your own. It is imperative to get treatment as soon as possible after being injured. If your employer does not offer to send you to the doctor, seek treatment on your own to make sure your injury is looked at quickly. Even if you have to go to a clinic on your own and pay out of pocket, do not ignore this step. It is important to show your injury is work-related. Keep a copy of all documents given to your or the employer including doctors work status slips, etc.
3. Make sure the claim form discussed above has been submitted by your employer along with the doctor’s first report of occupational injury to their workers compensation insurance carrier. Ask your employer for a copy of this submitted form. If you are not given a copy, or the employer does not submit this form, you may need to seek help from an experienced attorney to help preserve your rights.
4. Document all treatment and all conversation with your employer regarding your injury. This is a vital step and is necessary to keep a record ( written or electronic-i.e. emails-texts) of all conversations with your employer regarding asking for treatment, discussing any time off for the injury or any discussions regarding your job after the injury. Ask for a copy of all documents you have completed for the employer regarding the injury. Never give your employer your only copy. Keep a copy for your own records.
5. After you provide all these documents, the insurance company will decide to accept or deny your workers’ compensation claim. There are specific time limits for the insurance company to make this decision. If they decide to deny your claim, you have the right to pursue an appeal. You may want to seek help from an attorney if your claim is denied to help preserve your rights.
Contact an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney
Filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California can be overwhelming. Contact the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys at the RSnyder Law Firm at (949) 484-0175 or online to learn how our legal team can assist you through the entire process and ensure that your legal rights are protected.