Regardless of the industry in which you work, you face health risks on the job, from slowly developing injuries caused by repetitive strain to sudden incidents that lead to catastrophic harm. The National Safety Council reports that about 12,600 U.S. workers experience a work-related injury each day, around one every seven seconds.
In the state of California, every employer with one or more employees must provide workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ comp offers both medical benefits and lost wage compensation in the event of a job-related illness or injury. To receive benefits, however, you must file a timely claim with your employer’s insurance company.
- Seek immediate medical care
If an injury is serious, you should seek emergency medical care immediately. However, you should also visit your doctor as soon as possible after even a seemingly minor incident or if you begin to notice any pain or developing condition that you believe is work-related. Documenting an injury early is one of the most important factors in filing a successful workers’ comp claim.
- Notify your employer
It is also important to notify your employer in writing about any job-related injury or illness within 30 days. Reporting promptly may help ensure that you receive needed benefits quickly and gives your employer a chance to investigate the circumstances. After you report an injury, your employer should provide you with a claim form within one working day.
- File your claim quickly
You should fill out and file your compensation claim form as soon as possible after receiving it. In addition to improving the chances that the insurer will approve the claim, filing early may allow you to access available benefits quickly, including up to $10,000 for medical care while a claims administer reviews your information. In California, employees have up to one year after the onset of an injury or illness to file a workers’ compensation claim.