How the workers’ compensation process works in CA

Employees who receive workplace injuries should understand the workers’ compensation process in order to receive benefits.

Employers in California and across the country are required to provide a safe and stable workplace for their employees. Therefore, when a worker becomes injured while on-the-job, he or she may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits. This compensation may help with expenses that stem from treatment of the injury, rehabilitation and medical procedures. There is, however, a process that employees must follow in order to ensure that their injury will be covered under the workers' compensation rules.

Reporting the injury

It is crucial that employees report the injury to their employer immediately. The injury should then be documented by the employer, and the worker may be sent to receive medical attention. Some workers may not know that they have an injury for several days or weeks. For example, there are conditions, such as carpal tunnel or asthma, that are caused by performing occupational tasks over time. Once the worker finds out that they have the condition, they should provide notice to their employers. In order to initiate the workers' compensation process, employees must fill out a DWC 1 form.

Receiving medical care

Workers should submit to the care provided by the approved workers' compensation physician, and participate in the recommended treatment and rehabilitation programs. According to the California Department of Industrial Relations, workers may be eligible for benefits, which include the following:

  • Death benefits to the family of the deceased worker.
  • Money to help the worker train for a new position if he or she is no longer able to perform in the former position.
  • Temporary benefits while the worker is recovering from an injury until he or she is able to return to that position.
  • Permanent benefits if the worker is never able to fully return to his or her job.

Injured employees are also able to have their medical care and treatment paid for through workers' compensation. Workers should keep in mind that there are limits to how many appointments are covered under their approved benefits, unless further benefits are approved by the claims administrator.

Claims investigation

In some cases, a workers' compensation claim investigation will be conducted to ensure that the injury is work-related and eligible for benefits. Employees are instructed to comply with the investigation and could lose their benefits if they fail to do so.

Get the benefits you deserve

If you are the victim of a workplace injury, you may not know exactly where to turn to receive answers to your questions. While you may be following the workers' compensation process, you might be uncertain as to whether you are receiving all of the benefits you deserve. A workers' compensation attorney in California may be able to provide the information you need to take your case to the next level.