All California employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, no matter how many or how few people they employ. It is a standard business expense, and most employers know that the workers’ compensation system has been set up for their benefit as well as for the benefit of their employees. Workers’ comp protects employers from lawsuits, and it provides financial protection and medical care for employees injured on the job.
If an employee suffers a work-related injury, the employer is required to pay workers’ comp benefits. This includes medical care, temporary or permanent disability benefits, a return-to-work supplement, and in worst-case scenarios, death benefits. In the event of employee injury, there are several steps that an employer must take to remain in compliance with California workers’ compensation laws. Among those steps, the employer must:
- Provide the injured worker with a worker’s comp claim form within one working day after the injury is reported
- Complete a report of the injury and mail it to the nearest workers’ compensation board office and the insurance company
Failure to do either of these things is illegal, but some employers will give any number of excuses for refusing to give the injured worker a claim form or for not reporting the work injury. Delays in reporting worker injuries can result in a delay of medical treatment and a longer recovery time.
If you have been injured on the job, you have the right to receive workers’ compensation benefits, and it is against the law for your employer to deny you this right or to delay the process in any way.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR WORK INJURY IS NOT REPORTED BY YOUR EMPLOYER
One of the first things you should do if your employer did not file a claim is to contact an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer. The workers’ comp system is complicated, and how you proceed from here will directly impact your case. A workers’ comp attorney can help ensure that each step you take strengthens your case so you get the maximum benefits you’re entitled to. Every case is different, but in general, here are the steps that should be taken if you suspect that your employer has not or will not report your injury:
- Send an email to your employer reporting your injury so that there is an undisputable record of notice.
- Be sure to make it clear to every healthcare provider you see that your injury was sustained on the job.
- File your workers’ compensation claim. This includes submission of the following documents:
- DWC-1: – This form will include details about the time, date, location, and nature of your injury. You can deliver one copy to your employer in person and send one copy by certified mail.
- Application for Adjudication of Claim: This form gives the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) the power to resolve issues and disputes related to your claim. You can submit this form personally at the WCAB district office or send it by certified mail.
- Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g): By filling out this form, you are essentially swearing that your claim is not fraudulent. You will submit this claim at the WCAB district office along with your Application for Adjudication of Claim.
- Document Cover Sheet: Include this completed document with the other forms you’re submitting.
- Keep records of everything, including your visits to the doctor, conversations with your employer, days of work missed, the names of any witnesses, anything pertaining to your work injury or your conversations with your employer.
There are many things that can go wrong with a workers’ compensation claim, even when your employer complies. Each step in the process presents a potential obstacle between you and your benefits. But you shouldn’t have to navigate this obstacle course on your own, especially not when you need your energy for healing and recovery. A workers’ comp attorney will advocate for you, communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, gather evidence to strengthen your case, help you get the appropriate medical care, and ensure that you get the benefits you’re entitled to.
YOU WORK HARD. YOU DESERVE A SAN DIEGO LAWYER WHO WILL WORK HARD ON YOUR BEHALF.
At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, we’ve dedicated nearly half a century to helping injured workers navigate the legal system and get the maximum benefits they need to pay for their medical fees and cover their lost wages. Our practice is exclusively devoted to handling workplace injury and workers’ compensation cases, and we know the system inside and out, including the tricks employers and insurance companies pull in the attempt to deny benefits to deserving workers. Whether your employer refuses to file a claim or you’re confused about next steps, please don’t hesitate to call us. Helping injured workers like you is what we do.
When you work with one of our attorneys, there are no upfront costs or hidden fees. Our payment comes as a small percentage of your settlement, which means we only get paid if you do.
Call (619) 544-1506 today to schedule your free consultation today.