How long you should retain your workers’ compensation records may depend on your state. However, you should always hold onto your records until your workers’ compensation claim settles. It could also be in your best interest to hold onto them longer to ensure you are prepared should something unexpected happen.If you have filed a workers’ compensation claim or already received your benefits, you should keep your records until the time frame for an appeal has passed. Still, if you are unsure whether you can get rid of your records, a worker’s compensation attorney can give you some direction. At KJT Law Group, we can answer any questions you might have to ensure that you are well-equipped for any unforeseen circumstances that could arise. In the end, it is better to be safe than sorry, which means you should retain your workers’ compensation records.
Maintaining Workers’ Compensation Records in California
The California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) maintains records for the convenience of those involved in a claim. These records are not guaranteed to be current or accurate, as the Department is only working with what it is provided. However, this database can be great for both employees and employers if they lose or throw away their records.
How Long Does the DIR Keep Them?
The DIR will hold onto all records for five years from the date of the injury or five years from the date that compensation benefits were last administered. If a claim is closed or inactive, then the records may be electronically stored or microfilmed. Otherwise, paper files will be kept for at least two years after the claim settles.
There is no limit to how long claim files and logs will be kept and maintained in the state. By having these readily available, the state helps protect those involved from audits and other issues.
Why Keep My Own Workers’ Compensation Records?
With the California DIR holding onto your records for up to five years, you may wonder why it is necessary for you to also go through the effort of keeping and maintaining records. While you may be tempted to throw away your records after it seems like everything is over, it may often be in your best interest to refrain.Maintaining your records helps ensure you’re prepared should an insurance company challenge your claim or you need to file an appeal. By having your own records of everything that took place, you are taking matters into your own hands and not relying on your employer or former employer to have everything in order.
The DIR Documents Could Be Inaccurate
The DIR states on its website that its records could be outdated. With your financial security on the line, it is not in your best interest to rely on records that may not be accurate. Keep your own records to prevent any questions regarding your claim.
What Workers’ Compensation Records to Retain
You should retain all records related to your claim. This means any claim forms, medical or financial information, and any bills you receive as a result of your injury. Even if a document feels only partially related to your claim, it is better to be cautious.
If you need to file an appeal, these records could help your attorney considerably.
When to Consult a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer for Assistance
You have a right to recover workers’ compensation if you are injured at work. Do not allow yourself to be cheated just to make the process simpler.
If you believe your employer or their insurance company is treating you unfairly, you should consider contacting a law firm that handles workers’ compensation claims.
How an Attorney Can Use Your Records in Your Case
If you need to file an appeal to receive fair benefits, an attorney can use the records you retained to help you obtain what you are entitled to recover. Through your records, your attorney will be able to prepare for your case and speak with the necessary professionals to prove that your injury resulted from a work-related incident.Your attorney can compile your medical records and speak with your doctor to help determine whether you had any pre-existing conditions that could affect your ability to recover benefits. Additionally, they will review your claim, speak with witnesses if necessary, and look at your past payments to ensure you receive exactly what you deserve.Don’t worry about affording a lawyer. Our team works on a contigency-fee basis. That means we don’t require any upfront, out-of-pocket, or hourly payments to get started on your case. We only get paid if you do, as our fee comes out of the benefits you receive when your case resolves.
Learn More About Retaining Workers’ Compensation Records With Our Firm
Once you have filed a workers’ compensation claim, you may be looking to rid the situation from your life so you can move on. This desire may lead you to throw away papers and documents that could otherwise be helpful to you. Rather than throw away your records, it is best to retain them for a few years to ensure you are prepared should any problems arise.In addition, while the California DIR will keep records for up to five years, hang onto yours to ensure they are up to date. Plus, this will allow you to readily and easily provide documentation should you need it without going through a third party. If you threw away your records or have any questions about your record keeping or workers’ compensation claim, KJT Law Group can help you.Contact or call us at (818) 507-8525 for more information about retaining your workers’ compensation records. Our team can give you a free consultation at no obligation.