Workplace injuries and illnesses are common in California. Some of the common injuries in California are overexertion injuries and repetitive motion injuries. Reporting your work-related injury as soon as possible to your employer and formally filing your workers’ comp claim is important for all workers in California. However, for some employees, it can be an intimidating proposition, but delaying matters only makes it worse.Many workers in California do not fully understand all their rights and also fear retaliation from their employers should they file a workers’ comp claim. You should know that all employers in California must have workers’ comp insurance.
It is worth mentioning that companies that do not carry workers compensation insurance face both civil and criminal penalties. We understand that workers’ comp cases are difficult in California; they usually pit you against your employer and make you indecisive when it was an accident, and nobody was at fault.
If you live in California and suffer an injury on your job, you do not have time to spare. Keep in mind that the longer you go without communicating your job-related injury to your employer, the more likely it is that the company will not approve your claim. Workers’ comp insurance in California is state-mandated and covers the vast majority of employees in the state.
When you suffer an injury on your job, the first thing you have to do is get immediate medical care. Then you should contact a local, competent workers’ compensation lawyer, like Farnsworth Law Group, to discuss all your options.
It is crucial to file your workers’ comp claim as soon as possible for several reasons, discussed in the following sections.
Statute Of Limitations
There is often a time limit on how long you can wait between your work-related accident in California, and when you report this accident to your employer. The statute of limitations determines the period of time you have to file your workers’ compensation claim.
In California, the statute of limitations for filing your workers’ comp claim is one year from the date of your work-related injury or illness. You may end up losing your right to file the claim at all if you do not file your workers’ comp claim within one year of becoming aware of the injury or illness.
Whether you sustain an injury in a workplace accident or develop a job-related illness or injury over a period, you should fill out a DWC-1 form and then submit it to the employer within thirty days of becoming aware of your condition. You cannot lose your job under California law if you get an injury due to an accident at work. However, you have to submit your claim form as early as possible in order to avoid any complication or confusion. You would want to contact a workers’ comp lawyer as soon as possible to make sure you file your compensation claim in advance of this deadline.
Workers’ compensation benefits are available for a reason; therefore, do not miss the opportunity to make the most of this insurance. In addition, it could help you in the future if your work injury becomes a disability, and you are no longer able to work the same job you had.
Steer Clear Of Claim Rejection
This is another important reason to file your claim promptly. The company may reject your workers’ comp claim for many reasons. Also, keep in mind that none of the theories for the denial of a workers’ comp claim are mutually exclusive, which means that a single claim can be denied on multiple grounds.
Note that the period between your work accident and notification to your employer or supervisor is one of the most important parts that may make them reject your claim request. It is because your employer will not know whether your work injury relates to an accident at work or arose from something, which happened while you were not working.
In addition, it is worth mentioning that insurance companies often deny claims because of a lack of sufficient medical evidence to support the claimed injury. If you wait too long to file your claim in California, you may potentially lower your chance of getting all the benefits you need and deserve for the work-related injuries you sustained while working.
Another way the company might deny your claim is if you have some kind of mental illness. It can be harder to receive your workers’ compensation benefits, as it is trickier to prove that your job or work is responsible for your mental condition.
Therefore, it is always easier and more convenient to just report your work-related injury right away when the accident occurs. If you do that, you will not need to wait for any appeals that may derail you from receiving the benefits you need.
Notice of Injury
There is a specific amount of time by which you have to give your employer a “notice of injury” as required by California law. California law mandates a thirty-day time limit to report an injury. Your employer may not have to offer workers’ compensation benefits if you wait over 30 days. This is why timely reporting is so important.
Although employees in California do not always lose their benefits in case they delay reporting their claim by more than thirty days, there is no reason for you to take that chance. You or your workers’ comp lawyer (known as the “claimant”) has to notify the employer in a timely and proper manner.
Note that the thirty-day time limit starts when your injury occurs. However, in some cases, the date of occurrence is not easy to determine. For example, a repetitive stress injury (such as carpal tunnel) or an occupational illness caused by exposure to a toxic substance is likely to develop over time. Note that in these cases, your thirty-day time limit begins running on the date that you realize (or must have realized) the disease or injury is work-related. A local lawyercould help you navigate the complexity of your situation in these cases.
Medical Bill Payment
No one wants to be responsible for a pile of steep medical bills from their workplace injuries. Do you want to pay for your medical bills when you can easily take advantage of your workers’ compensation benefits? This is another reason why you should not wait too long to file your workers’ compensation claim in California right after your workplace injury.
If your injury or illness is work-related, then your employer’s insurance company will cover all medical expenses reasonably needed to treat your condition. Covered expenses include doctors’ visits, emergency room care, hospital stays, blood tests, imaging studies (x-rays), the cost of rehabilitation treatment, and at times transportation costs to and from your appointments.
Even better, according to the law, your doctor cannot bill you directly if they know you sustained your injury at work. However, you have to ensure that you file your claim as soon as possible.
This is because your case will become more persuasive or stronger if you have all the medical evidence needed to back up your comp claim. Therefore, seeking appropriate medical attention after your workplace injury will help further your claim. Some workplace injuries, like repetitive motion, may cause bursitis and tendonitis. By receiving the workers’ comp benefits, you do not need to worry about paying those pesky bills on your own.
Early Return to Work
Timely medical treatment provided by specialized healthcare providers familiar with treating workplace injuries increases your likelihood of proper diagnosis as well as effective treatment plans. In addition, minor injuries tend to stay minor and heal faster when treated right away.
By delaying your claim, you can risk rejection from your employer’s insurance company. A considerable time gap between your work injury and the claim may raise a red flag for the insurance company, even if your workplace injury is authentic and honest. Many insurance companies in California are strategic and will do everything they can in order to give you the least workers’ compensation possible.
If you sustain an injury or have an illness that developed gradually over time (like mesothelioma or carpal tunnel syndrome), you should get in touch with a local attorneyas soon as you suspect this illness may have developed due to work-related duties.
Ensure the Safety of Your Co-Workers
A lot of people do not think about the safety of their co-workers when they are involved in a work accident. This is where prompt reporting can help. By filing your report right away, you will save your co-workers from the same kind of accident in the future.
Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in California
When reporting your workers’ comp claim time is of the essence. Promptness is the best practice. Always consult with a competent local attorney for valuable advice on a specific incident. Having an experienced lawyer, like Farnsworth Law Group,by your side can make it easier and quicker for you to get all the benefits and money you need for your medical bills.