Dealing with a work-related injury is often a confusing time. Although your first priority is getting the medical treatment you need to heal, you don’t want to put off filing a workers’ compensation claim. The process is often complex and there are time limits that you must consider. Failing to follow the correct protocol could keep you from getting the compensation you need to pay your related expenses.
When you are injured on the job, follow the steps below as a guide for filing a claim:
Step 1: Get Medical Treatment
Your health is your top priority and work-related injuries range from mild to severe. Call 911 if needed and have your injuries assessed right away. Tell the healthcare providers giving you care that your injury is due to a work-related injury. Make sure the doctor records every detail of your diagnosis and treatment.
Step 2: Identify Witnesses
Think about who was in the area when the accident occurred. Co-workers, delivery drivers, visitors, or anyone else who was there who may have seen what happened. Collect as much contact information as you can get, even if you don’t know the person or their reason for being there.
Step 3: Take Photos
Thanks to the popularity of cell phones, almost everyone has access to a camera these days. Use yours to take photos of the accident site. Include anything that may have caused the accident as well as the appearance of injuries that are visible.
Step 4: Notify Your Employer
In California, reporting a work-related injury to your employer is part of the filing process. Your employer must provide you with a workers’ compensation claim form, or DWC 1. You must complete the employee section of the form and submit it to your employer to start the claim process. Your employer is responsible for completing the portion of the form and submitting it to their insurance company.
The second part of the process is to file a workers’ compensation application with the state’s court. You must complete both of these steps before you can receive benefits.
Step 5: Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Most people don’t know their rights or how to go about filing a workers’ comp claim. It’s a good idea to get a workers compensation lawyer to help. You must meet time requirements for filing to prevent having your workers’ compensation claim denied.
If you don’t receive a response to your claim after 90 days, it is presumed accepted. However, it isn’t unusual for claimants to receive a denial notice prior to this time. If the insurance company denies your claim, you have the right to appeal. Make sure you have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side when you do.