If you suffered an injury due to a workplace accident, you may be entitled to receive benefits under the Workers Compensation Act of California. Workers’ compensation is a way to protect employees who may be hurt while performing their duties in the course of their employment.
The first thing you need to do is to get immediate medical help. Inform the doctor that the injury you suffered is from a workplace accident. Right after getting checked, you should report the injury to your employer. You have 30 days from the date of the injury to report it. If you fail to report it on time, then you may risk not getting benefits for your work-related injury.
A day after you report your injury, your employer should give you a copy of the workers’ compensation claim form (Form DWC-1). Complete and answer the form carefully. After you’re done, you can submit it to your employer in person or you can send it by mail. If you’ll send it by mail, you should use certified mail. Your employer should then complete their section of the form and should return a signed copy to you.
Your employer will submit the completed form to their insurance company. While they are still investigating the claim, the insurance company is responsible for your medical bills. If your claim is not denied 90 days after you submitted the form, it is considered approved. Once approved, you can start collecting the benefits of your claim which include compensation for your medical bills and temporary disability benefits if you have lost wages.
But if your employer has a dispute or denies your claim, you should consult a lawyer and start to review their decision. If you wish to proceed further, you should see another doctor for an independent evaluation. After the evaluation and you still believe that you have a valid claim, you may submit an Application for Adjudication of Claim form with the Workers’ Compensation Appeal Board (WCAB). You must submit the completed form to the DWC office in your county and you must give your employer a copy as well.
Once you submitted the Application for Adjudication form, you will receive a mail that confirms the case you filed. You will also receive your case number. Prepare for a trial. To make sure that your rights are protected and to guide you the process of the trial, consider hiring an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer.