How to File a Work Injury Report
If you’ve sustained a work-related injury on the job, the first thing you should do is file a work injury report with a supervisor. The sooner you do so, the better your claim will be if you require any period of workers’ compensation.
Understanding California Workers’ Comp Law
Each state lays forth the method by which an employee must file workers’ compensation. California is no different in this regard. There are deadlines that must be met. Failure to meet these deadlines can result in your workers’ comp claim being denied.
Nonetheless, if you have sustained an illness or injury while on the job and you’re an eligible employee, the law requires that your employer compensate you for your injury. That includes paying for your medical treatment and compensating you for your wages while you’re recovering.
However, it’s your responsibility to see that all deadlines are met and that the injury or illness is reported in a timely fashion.
When Should You File a Work Injury Report?
Your best bet is to file the work injury report as soon as possible. If your injuries are serious, there may be good reason for delay. However, it’s important to promptly report the injury to a supervisor at the very least. The supervisor or someone else with the authority should take a report as to what happened. In California, you have 30 days from the date of the injury to file a work injury report.
In the case of an injury or illness that becomes gradually worse over time, the clock begins ticking on the date that you discover the injury.
Those who are late in reporting their injuries must have extenuating circumstances. In most cases, your employer’s insurance company will deny the claim and you will be forced into the position of appealing. That generally requires the aid of a lawyer and that can delay your reimbursements.
How Do You Give Notice of a Work Injury Report?
Once the injury is reported, your employer should give you a form called the DWC-1. This form should include information on your rights and your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. It will also include the process of applying for these benefits.
If your employer neglects to give you a DWC-1, you can download one from the California Department of Industrial Relations. Fill out the employee part of the form and then give the form to your employer to fill out the rest. Your employer will fill out their portion of the document and then submit it to their insurance company.
How the Insurance Company Will Respond
Even though the insurance company has not made a final decision, they must authorize payment for any medical treatment you’ve received up to $10,000. At that point, the insurance company has 90 days to deny the claim. If the claim is not denied within 90 days, the claim has been approved.
If you are required to miss work because of the injury, the insurance company will begin paying you two weeks after the incident.
The insurance company has three options:
- Approve the claim,
- Deny the claim,
- Ask for more information.
If the insurance company fails to respond, there will be a late penalty tacked on at an additional 10%.
Applying for an Adjudication of Claim
If a dispute arises between you, your employer, or the insurance company, you will need to file for an adjudication of your claim. This requires you to open your case with the Workers Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The form is called the WCAB-1. It must be filed within one year of the date of the injury. In some cases, though, you may have longer.
Even if superficially, everything appears to be going your way, you will not be able to dispute any decision by the insurance company or your employer until you’ve filled out this form and filed it with the WCAB.
What If You Missed the Deadline? Dewberry Law Can Help
If you missed a deadline, you might have a good reason for that. Contact the California workers’ compensation attorney at Dewberry Law and we might be able to help you file a claim anyway. In addition, if you’re having trouble with the insurance company honoring your claim, we can help you prove your case. For more information about filing a work injury report or filing a claim, call us today.