To initiate a worker’s compensation claim in California, you should follow these steps:
- Report the injury or illness to your employer: Notify your employer about your work-related injury or illness as soon as possible. There are specific deadlines for reporting, so it’s crucial to inform your employer promptly. Provide details about how the injury or illness occurred and any witnesses present.
- Seek medical treatment: Obtain appropriate medical treatment for your injury or illness. Your employer may have a list of approved doctors or medical facilities for you to visit. If you require emergency medical attention, seek immediate care regardless of whether it is on the approved list. Make sure to inform the medical provider that your injury or illness is work-related.
- Complete a claim form: Obtain a worker’s compensation claim form (DWC-1) from your employer or their worker’s compensation insurance carrier. Fill out the form accurately and provide all necessary information about the injury or illness. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records.
- Submit the claim form: After completing the claim form, submit it to your employer or their worker’s compensation insurance company. Keep a record of the date and method of submission (e.g., hand-delivery, certified mail). It is advisable to send it via a traceable method to have proof of delivery.
- Follow up with your employer: Check with your employer to ensure they have received your claim form. Confirm whether any additional steps or documentation are required to process your claim.
- Consult with a worker’s compensation attorney: While not mandatory, it can be beneficial to consult with an experienced worker’s compensation attorney. They can provide guidance, protect your rights, and help navigate the complexities of the claims process.
Remember that specific timeframes and procedures may vary depending on the circumstances, so it is crucial to consult the California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) and/or an attorney familiar with worker’s compensation laws to ensure compliance and maximize your chances of a successful claim.