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How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

There are various deadlines that may come into play when filing for workers' compensation in California. Generally speaking, however, there are only two deadlines you need to know about:

  • You have 30 days to tell your employer about your injury, and
  • You have 1 year to officially file a workers' compensation claim with the State Workers' Compensation Board.

Deadlines for Filing for Workers' Comp in California

When you sustain an injury in your place of work, it is imperative that you understand what is required of you to ensure you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to. Failing to do so might result in your inability to receive any of these vital benefits, which is absolutely the last thing you want or need. Meeting certain deadlines for submitting necessary paperwork is among one of the many important requirements you will have to meet, so take a moment to understand what these time limitations are.

Below are some of the deadlines you must meet for your workers’ compensation claim to be successful:

  • Report the work injury or illness as soon as possible: Regardless if you were injured at a worksite or developed an injury or illness related to your occupation over time, you are required to fill out a DWC-1 form, which you must submit to your employer within 30 days from the time you become aware of your condition. California law states that you cannot lose your job if you were accidentally injured at work, but it is crucial that you file the claim as soon as possible or you will risk having to pay for overwhelming medical costs and lost wages that might have otherwise been covered through workers’ compensation.

Upon receiving written notification of your disability, your employer will have at least 5 days to file a workers’ compensation claim on your behalf with the insurance company. After this step is completed, you should receive a letter from the insurance company within 14 days confirming the status of your claim.

  • Workers’ compensation statute of limitations: In the state of California, the statute of limitations for filing a claim or an appeal is usually one year from the date of the injury or illness. If the injured worker has been receiving medical treatment or benefits, he or she can file an application with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board within 5 years after the date of injury if the disability changes.

Workers’ compensation benefits do not cover pain and suffering or possible punitive damages, though it is possible to file a personal injury claim against a third party other than your employer. In this case, you will have 2 years from the date of the injury in which to file a Summons and Complaint against a third party. If the third party is a public entity, you will have to file a special claim form within 6 months of the accident or occurrence.

Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorneys

The process of filing a workers’ compensation claim can be complicated and overwhelming, which is why having an experienced attorney on your side can play an important role in whether or not you are able to successfully obtain these benefits. At Smolich and Smolich, our Sacramento workers’ compensation attorneys are here to help you navigate the entire process successfully.

Contact our office today for the legal assistance you deserve at (888) 452-0703 and schedule a free initial consultation with a knowledgeable member of our Sacramento team.