If you suffer a disabling injury in the workplace, you may be eligible for the California workers’ compensation program. During the process of applying for and receiving workers’ compensation payments, you have federal legal protections, which means you cannot lose your job for pursuing a workers’ comp claim.
Explore the process of seeking workers’ compensation after a job-related injury in California.
Report your injury to your employer
In an emergency situation, getting medical care is your first priority. When you predesignate a medical care provider in writing with your employer, you can see this doctor for a workplace injury. After initial treatment, you have 30 days to tell your employer about the injury to remain eligible for workers’ compensation.
Submit a claim form
Within one business day after learning of your injury, your employer must provide you with a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form. You must complete and sign this form, then return it to your employer. Your company will submit the form to a claims administrator from its workers’ compensation insurance provider.
The insurance company must either accept or deny your claim within 90 days. Otherwise, you receive automatic acceptance. In California, you can receive workers’ compensation coverage for:
- All medical costs, including diagnostics, treatments, surgeries, medications, medical devices and transportation to medical appointments
- Temporary disability payments at about 66% of your average weekly wage for up to two years
- Permanent disability payments if you are unable to return to work because of the injury
- Life pension payments if you become severely disabled
- Job training costs if you cannot do your previous job but can seek education to obtain a different type of employment
California maintains a no-fault workers’ compensation system. That means you do not need to prove that your employer was responsible for your injury to be eligible for benefits. However, the insurance company can request an evaluation by a qualified medical examiner to obtain more information about your claim before proceeding.