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When Do I Need to Report a Work Injury?

If you are a California employee, you have 30 days from the date of an accident at work to report it to your employer and one year to file a workers’ compensation claim. In both cases, though, acting as soon as possible is preferable to waiting any amount of time.

Unfortunately, many people are unaware of these time limits, so they may wait to see if an injury is serious enough before reporting it. If they wait too long, though, they can forfeit their right to claim workers’ comp benefits. This is why it’s always best to report a work injury and file a workers’ compensation claim as soon as possible, regardless of how serious you believe your injuries are.

How Do I Report an Injury at Work?

You have to report your work injury to your employer within 30 days to protect your right to file a workers’ comp claim, but how you do it matters. If you need immediate medical assistance, you’ll probably verbally communicate the incident to your employer. Unfortunately, this is not enough.

You must formally report your injury, in writing, to your employer to protect your workers’ comp claim. In a likely scenario, your employer will provide you with a claim form that will ask you questions about the nature of your injury, how the accident occurred, who was involved in the incident, as well as other basic information.

The Type of Injury Matters

You might not realize it, but the type of injury you have matters when it comes to the time limit you have to report it. The California labor code recognizes two types of workplace injuries: specific injuries and cumulative trauma injuries.

If there’s a single moment you can point to as the reason for your injury, you have a specific injury. This type of injury includes things like falls, burns, collisions, and other specific events in time. For specific injuries, the time limit to report your injury and file a workers’ compensation claim begins on the date of the accident.

If your injury developed over time as a result of repetitive movements or even exposure to toxic substances, you have a cumulative trauma injury. Conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and tendonitis fall into this category because they develop over time. If you wish to file a workers’ compensation claim for a cumulative trauma injury, you must report it to your employer within 30 days of the date when realized the injury is related to your job. You also have one year from the same date to apply for workers’ compensation.

Act Now with Legal Assistance

If you were recently injured on the job, time is of the essence if you wish to file for workers’ compensation benefits. Our team of attorneys at Smolich and Smolich can help you with each step of this process, from reporting the accident to your employer to ensuring your workers’ comp claim is properly prepared.

For more information about how our legal assistance can help, contact us online to request a consultation.