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How To File For Workers’ Compensation In California

When you have suffered a job related injury, workers’ compensation can help you to get the medical care you need, while ensuring lost wages do not result in financial hardship for you or your family. If you are injured on the job, follow these instructions from the California Department of Industrial Relations Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) to get the benefits you deserve.

Filing Your Claim

Your first step after suffering a job related accident or injury is to report it to your supervisor immediately. Your supervisor will inform your employer, who will in turn notify the insurance company. Seek medical care as soon as possible; in an emergency, seek treatment at your nearest hospital, otherwise, ask your employer if there is a specific place you should go for medical treatment. Follow your doctor’s instruction precisely, and adhere to their recommendation in terms of restricting activities and returning to work. Failure to take any of these first steps could result in the denial of your workers’ compensation claim. In order to actually file a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to do the following:

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  • Fill out a claim form. Your employer should give this form to you within 24 hours of your injury. If they do not, you can download this form from the DWC website.
  • Complete the worker’s section of the form only. Your employer will complete the rest.
  • Turn your completed form in to your employer as soon as possible. You can do so in person or by mail; however, if you send your form by mail, be sure to send it certified mail and request a receipt so that you will have a record of the date that you sent it.
  • Your employer will then fill out their section of the form, and forward it to their insurance company. Your employer should also send you a copy of the completed for. If they do not, request one.
  • Once your insurance company receives the form, they have 14 days to notify you of the status of your claim. Follow up with a phone call to the insurance company if you do not receive a notification letter from them within the 14-day period.

By following instructions, keeping an eye on timelines, and communicating directly with both your employer and their insurance company, you can maintain some control during this process. If your employer or their insurance refuse to cooperate by not filing the appropriate forms or not keeping you informed of the process, consult an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to assist you with your claim.

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