The statutory limits for workers’ compensation set deadlines for when you should notify your employer of your injury and when you need to file your claim. Per the State of California Department of Industrial Relations, you generally have 30 days to notify your employer of your on-the-job accident. You have one year to file the claim itself.
A Los Angeles workers’ compensation lawyer can handle your claim and ensure you meet your case’s applicable deadlines. This protects your right to pursue workers’ compensation benefits after an on-the-job injury. Most law firms offer free consultations for injured workers.
Many Deadlines Apply to a California Workers’ Compensation Claim
There are several deadlines you should know about if you suffer a workplace injury in California. Even in the most straightforward cases, claimants must meet two statutory time limits when pursuing benefits. Here’s what to know:
You Have 30 Days to Notify Your Employer
According to the California Workers’ Compensation Act, injured workers have 30 days to notify their employer, employer’s representative, or human resources department of their accident. They must provide written notice of their injuries, saying they have or will receive medical care and plan to seek workers’ compensation benefits.
It is important to note that this is necessary even if your supervisor witnessed the accident or your company was aware the incident occurred. This is the first step in getting workers’ compensation coverage for your injuries and time away from work. However, providing this notice is separate from filing your workers’ compensation claim.
You Have One Year to File a Claim
In some cases, statutes of limitations are complex, and it is difficult to determine the deadline based on the circumstances of your case. This is rarely true with California’s statutory limit for filing workers’ compensation claims. State law gives you one year from the day of your accident to file a claim. This is generally a hard deadline.
Of course, most people file them much sooner. They need wage loss benefits and medical care covered as soon as possible. You should also file your claim as soon as possible, even if you’re unsure about ultimately moving forward. Doing so could protect your right to damages even if your condition doesn’t heal on its own, or you must miss time from work.
There is also a one-year deadline for filing a claim or lawsuit if the insurer denies your claim for medical care coverage or refuses to pay fair benefits for your lost income.
Exceptions to the Statutory Limits on California Workers’ Compensation Cases
There are several exceptions to the time limits on filing your workers’ compensation claim. The clock does not begin ticking for chronic injuries or occupational illnesses until the worker knows they have a workplace injury. This is usually when they first develop symptoms or see a doctor about their condition.
Some circumstances pause the clock or change the timeline entirely. This includes:
- Minors have until their 19th birthday to file a claim.
- Workers who receive covered care—treatment paid by the workers’ comp insurer—for their injuries have up to five years to file for additional benefits.
- If the employer fails to provide the worker with a DWC-1 form, a worker can delay their claim until they receive this form.
Working with a workers compensation lawyer Los Angeles can ensure you understand how to navigate the workers’ compensation claims process. They will manage your case and meet all applicable deadlines.
Benefits Available Through California Workers’ Compensation Coverage
California requires all businesses with at least one employee to provide workers’ compensation insurance coverage for all workers. When a covered worker suffers on-the-job injuries, they are eligible for benefits.
According to “Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers,” the benefits could include:
Medical Treatment and Care
Workers’ compensation insurance provides direct payment for the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of workplace injuries from approved care providers. This also applies to chronic use injuries, exposures, and occupational illnesses.
Income Loss Payments
When someone suffers an injury and cannot work until they heal, they can receive temporary disability benefits while they are not earning a regular paycheck. These benefits cover a portion of their normal income up to a certain limit.
Permanent disability benefits pay out when the injured worker cannot return to their previous job or cannot work any job at all because of their lasting injuries.
Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits
When workers suffer lasting disabilities because of an on-the-job injury, they could require retraining to do their previous job or gain new skills to work a different job. Workers’ compensation provides vouchers to help cover these costs.
If a worker dies from their injuries, their family will receive a lump-sum payment for their funeral and burial costs, final expenses, and more.
The Role of an Attorney in a Workers’ Compensation Case
When an injured worker runs into issues filing their workers’ compensation case, they can turn to an attorney who handles these cases regularly. A workers’ compensation lawyer can determine their options and fight for the benefits they need and deserve based on their injuries.
For example, an employer might make it difficult to pursue a claim because they refuse to provide the necessary form or complete their part of the process. This could make the injured worker miss statutory deadlines in the case. An attorney will know how to handle this situation. Their legal team can also step in if the insurer denies the claim after filing.
Having a lawyer on your side managing the claims process can allow you to focus on your injuries, treatment, and healing. Your attorney will handle the workers’ compensation fight while you worry about getting better.
Discuss Your Workers’ Compensation Case With Our Team for Free
At KJT Law Group, our team of Los Angeles personal injury lawyers helps injured workers seek workers’ compensation benefits and lump-sum settlements. We know how these laws work, including the deadlines that apply in your case. We will discuss your options with you today for free. Contact us at (818) 507-8525 to learn more.