How Long to File Workers Comp Claim California

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December 14, 2015
Edward Smith

How Long to File Workers Comp Claim California

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer. When you are injured on the job in California, your employer is required by state law to cover treatment of your injuries via workers’ compensation benefits. These benefits can be completely denied if you do not file a workers’ compensation claim fast enough. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend that my clients notify their supervisors immediately when an accident occurs or when they are hurt in the workplace. Workers’ compensation injuries can involve single accidents, such as a fall, or injuries from repetitive work tasks, like back injuries caused by constant heavy lifting.

Notifying Your Employer Immediately of Your Injuries

When you experience pain, ask your manager how you go about reporting an injury. If you don’t notify your employer within 30 days after your injury occurred, you might lose your right to medical care assistance and payments!

How Long Do You Have to File Your Claim?

In order to receive workers’ compensation benefits, you must file a claim with the Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC). Upon learning of your injury, your employer is required by California law to give you a DWC claim form within one day. But once you have that claim form, how long do you have to file it?

Time Limit for Filing California Workers’ Compensation Case

You generally have only one year to file your claim. The clock starts running the moment your injury occurs. Many workers who miss the filing deadline do so because they are confused about the compensation process. Most employers have workers’ compensation insurance. The insurance company is responsible for evaluating your injury and paying out benefits, such as doctors’ bills or wage reimbursement for days you were too ill or injured to work. However, your employer’s insurance company has its own claim and review process. What would be considered a very valid claim by DWC might in fact be rejected by the insurance company. Other times, the insurance company may refuse to pay for the full extent of your physical and financial injuries. This is why it’s so imperative to file an accompanying DWC claim. If you don’t file a DWC claim (or don’t file in time), DWC will be unable to help you.

This one-year deadline applies when your employer’s insurance company has refused to pay you any benefits. However, if the insurance company only paid for some medical treatment or other benefits, you can file a DWC claim up to five years later. If a relative or spouse was killed by an injury caused at the workplace, you can file a DWC claim up to one year following the death, even if the death occurred a while after the initial injury.

Other Options

DWC isn’t your last line of defense against an insurance company in California. Here in Sacramento and throughout northern California, I assist workers just like you with pursuing unpaid benefits and compensation from greedy employers. Civil personal injury lawsuits filed in state or federal court seek to hold employers accountable for maintaining safe working conditions for employees. If you suffered an injury on the job due to a slip and fall accident, construction accident, or even a truck accident, I can help you try to obtain compensation for physical, financial, and emotional injuries.

Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

In addition, it is always key to have an attorney guide you through the workers’ compensation claim process, especially when your employer’s insurance company tries to take advantage of you. I can explain the law to you and assist you with filing forms and negotiating with your employer. Time limit for filing California workers’ compensation case is brought to you by Edward A Smith, a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer.

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Lawyer. If you or a loved one has sustained an injury at work, please call me at (916) 921-6400  for free, friendly advice. Read more about us on our website,

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