The process of a filing a workers’ compensation claim in the state of California can be tricky. There are certain procedures to follow, forms to fill out, and deadlines to meet.
If you’ve been injured on the job, then you could be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. You should know exactly how to proceed with your claim so you can get favorable compensation payments for your injury.
At our San Rafael workers’ comp law firm, we get many questions about filing compensation claims in Marin County. Here are some of the most important questions we respond to that help our clients file their workers’ comp claims in California.
What Injuries Qualify For Workers’ Comp Benefits In California?
One of the first things that people want to know about workers’ compensation is if their injuries qualify. Each case is unique and should be evaluated as such, but a good general rule of thumb is if the injury was work-related and required medical attention, then it should be eligible for compensation.
Here are just a few of the types of injuries that qualify for workers’ comp benefits in California:
- Repetitive stress injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Hearing loss
- Slip and falls
- Crushing accidents
- Occupational illnesses
- Chemical spills
- Amputations and severed limbs
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Equipment malfunction injuries
This is not an exclusive list. Due to the diversity of employment industries in this state, the injuries that can occur on the job vary. If you think you have an injury that could qualify for workers’ comp but are unsure, contact a seasoned lawyer that can help you determine if you’re eligible for benefits.
Keep in mind that certain injuries, like those that do not occur at work or happened with another employer, may not be eligible for a workers’ comp claim through your place of employment.
How Long Do I Have To File A California Workers’ Comp Claim?
In the state of California, it’s in your best interest to act quickly when you’ve been injured on the job. Occupational injuries should be reported to your employer immediately.
You have a deadline of 30 days from the time that the injury or accident occurs to report it to your employer. Once you’ve reported the incident, you have a year to file a claim form.
The sooner you fill it out, the better to prevent missing important deadlines. Any claims filed after the deadline may not be eligible for workers’ comp benefits. File your claim within the appropriate deadlines to ensure you qualify for payments.
How Do I Report My Injury At Work?
If you’ve been hurt at work, then the first step is to seek medical attention. If the injury is an emergency, then you can go anywhere for treatment.
If not, your employer will likely have an in-network physician. Let the physician know that you are there for a work injury. The medical facility cannot bill you when the injury is work-related.
You will also need to report the incident immediately. Many places of employment have procedures in place for these instances. Refer to your employee handbook or ask your supervisor how to report the injury.
If you find that your employer is uncooperative and you’re unable to report the incident, it’s time to get a workers’ comp attorney involved. Not reporting the accident in time could mean forfeiting your rights to a workers’ comp claim.
Contact a skilled workers’ benefits law firm and discuss your case. They can help you navigate the complicated process and report the injury.
What Happens After I Report My Accident On The Job?
Within a day of reporting the work-related illness or injury, your employer must provide you with a workers’ comp claim form. This form must be completed and submitted within the given deadline.
Be sure to follow the instructions on the form and list each part of your body that was harmed in the incident. Your employer will also fill out part of the form. They should submit it to their insurance company.
In most cases, you should hear from the insurance company within 14 days letting you know the status of your claim. They will send you a letter that either states that your claim has been approved or denied.
If you don’t receive a letter within the 14-day time frame, call the insurance company to check on the status. If your employer does not deny your claim within 90 days, then the state of California assumes that the claim is accepted, and you will receive benefits.
It’s important to note that you do not have to wait on the insurance company to receive medical attention. Getting prompt medical care for your injuries is crucial to the healing process and should not be ignored or put off. This is part of the reason that insurance companies must allow you to receive up to $10,000 in medical treatment during the time period that your claim is being investigated.
If your claim is accepted, then you could be entitled to certain benefits. Workers’ comp insurance provides these 5 basic benefits:
- Supplemental job displacement benefits: These are vouchers that fund skill enhancement or retraining if you don’t recover and are unable to return to work with your employer
- Death benefits: These are financial payments made to the kids, spouse, or dependents of the worker if they are deceased as a result of the work-related injury or illness
- Medical care benefits: These are the benefits paid to help you directly with your medical expenses from the injury or illness
- Temporary disability benefits: These are temporary payments made to cover a part of lost wages during your recovery
- Permanent disability benefits: These are payments made when you’re unable to recover completely from the incident
A Workers’ Comp Law Firm Can Help!
When you’ve suffered from an occupational injury in San Rafael, you could be entitled to workers’ comp benefits. Navigating the workers’ comp system can be complicated. If you are having problems with your claim, then it’s time to talk with a seasoned workers’ comp law attorney.
Contact us at (415) 448-5107 to schedule your free consultation. We provide affordable legal services and aggressive representation for employees and their workers’ comp claims.