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How does a workers’ compensation claim get started?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2024 | Workers' Compensation

Understanding how the workers’ compensation process commences is important for those who find themselves injured on the job.

California’s system aims to provide financial support and medical care to employees hurt during work-related activities. However, it is important when an employee is injured at work to follow certain steps to take advantage of California’s workers’ compensation system.

Reporting the injury

When an employee sustains an injury at work, the first step is to promptly report the incident to their employer. Timeliness is key. Reporting should occur as soon as possible to ensure a smooth process. Failure to report promptly might lead to complications in receiving benefits.

Seeking medical attention

After reporting the injury, the injured worker must seek immediate medical attention. Typically the employer will send the injured worker to a designated occupational health clinic for treatment for the first 30 days. The employer typically designates a list of approved medical providers. Choosing one from this list after the first 30 days ensures coverage for medical expenses by the workers’ compensation insurance.

Employer’s responsibility

Upon receiving the injury report, the employer must provide the injured worker with a claim form within one working day. The employee should fill out and return this form promptly, outlining the details of the incident. The employer then forwards the completed form to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

Investigation by the insurance carrier

Once the claim form reaches the insurance carrier, an investigation starts. This involves verifying the incident, checking medical records and ensuring the claim’s legitimacy. The insurer communicates its decision on the claim within 90 days, either accepting or denying it.

In 2022, employers across the nation reported 2.8 million workplace injuries and illnesses. While workers’ compensation provides needed relief, the process may take time. By following key steps diligently, injured workers can navigate the system efficiently, ensuring they receive the support they need to recover and return to work.