How To File A Workers’ Compensation Claim In California
Have you been hurt or injured while on the job? In order to get compensated for medical treatment and any missed wages, you need to file a workers’ compensation claim. Unfortunately, the process for filing a workers’ compensation claim is not always straightforward. So, to help you out, we’ve created a video with the steps to take for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
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So, you’ve been injured at work? There are so many things to consider. Where do you start? First things first — if you need immediate medical attention, here’s a line you’ve never heard before; call 911. You may not feel the full effects of your injury until hours later, so be sure to get yourself checked out. After medical attention, you should take the following steps for filing a workers’ compensation claim:
- IDENTIFY WITNESSES: A witness can be just about anyone, from a delivery person, to someone just visiting; people that you might never see again. Write down their contact information and find out what they saw.
- TAKE PHOTOS: Photos of the accident site and anything that contributed to your injury, such as liquid on the floor, or even a panelized roof that fell on you can help. Take photos of any cuts, bruises or other injuries on your body. Your smartphone is a great tool for this.
- INFORM YOUR SUPERVISOR: Don’t wait to report your injury to a supervisor. The longer you take to report your injury, the more likely your employer’s insurance company is to deny your claim.
- OBTAIN A CLAIM FORM: Your employer is required to provide a workers’ compensation claim form within one day of you reporting your injury. Make sure you get the form right away and fill it out. Any delay could mean delays in medical treatment and wage replacement.
The form will look like this: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwcform1.pdf
You only need to fill out numbers 1 through 8. And, if your employer tries to complete the form for you, ask to complete it yourself, or make sure you agree with what is written before you sign it.
NOW WHAT? WILL YOU NEED A WORKERS’ COMPENSATION LAWYER?
Workers’ compensation law has its own language. The paperwork for your claim will include numerous unfamiliar concepts, terms and acronyms.
For example; there are Medical Provider Networks, Primary Treating Physicians, UR, IMR, PQME, MSC, EDD, CBA, MMI, vouchers, and on and on and on.
What does all this mean? There are too many things to know, too many things to consider and too many time limits to worry about. Insurance providers revel in this complexity because it causes confusion and helps them to deny, delay and diminish an injured worker’s benefits. This is why it’s advised to speak with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer who can navigate your claim through the minefields of the work comp system. A good workers’ comp lawyer will ensure you receive the prompt medical attention that’s necessary to diagnose and treat your injury, so you can return to work as soon as you’re physically able.
SO HOW LONG IS ALL THIS GOING TO TAKE?
The answer depends on several factors, like how quickly your employer accepts responsibility for your injuries, how quickly they authorize medical treatment and how quickly you recover. Cases can take 6 months to 6 years to resolve. However, most cases can be resolved within a year with the help of a competent workers’ compensation lawyer.
At Hiden, Rott & Oertle, we know every case is different, and each client is unique. At the beginning of your case, you will have a highly competent workers’ compensation attorney, a paralegal and a legal assistant assigned to your case. We’ll also provide you with the personal cellphone number and email address of your attorney. Most lawyers think we’re crazy to provide such direct access, but we believe in communication and customer service.
Hiden, Rott & Oertle is a well-respected law firm, representing injured workers all over California and many of California’s major labor unions. We are proud of resolving a host of cases for some of the largest monetary payouts in the state.