If you are employed, knowing how workers’ compensation insurance works is very important for the chance that you become injured on the job.
Workplace injuries happen all the time, and if it were to happen to you, you need to be prepared to have the financial assistance you and your family need. Here is everything you need to know about filing for worker’s compensation in Los Angeles.
What Is Workers’ Compensation and Who Is Eligible for It?
Workers’ Compensation refers to any disease or injury an employee encounters while working at their place of employment. There are special rules for workers’ comp eligibility, and those are:
- A person must be an employee
- The business or company must have workers’ compensation insurance
- You must meet deadlines for filing your claims and other forms
It’s important to note that any freelancer or independent contractor and volunteer of businesses or companies are not considered to be employees, which means they do not qualify for workers’ compensation.
When an employee suffers a workplace injury or disease, and the company holds workers’ compensation insurance, it is the insurer’s responsibility to cover medical bills and lost wages of the employee.
The amount of workers’ compensation and employee can receive will vary from state to state and their situation. For example, there are certain workplace accidents where employees can receive a lump sum, and there are other situations where medical bills and payments are paid throughout.
How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim
California is stringent in its deadlines when it comes to receiving coverage for any workplace injury. If you miss these deadlines, you could miss out on the opportunity to receive your workers’ compensation benefits. Employees in California have one year to file their claims.
First, employees must begin filing all necessary paperwork on the date of their injury, but that can become tricky if you are unsure when your injury occurred.
For instance, workplace injuries such as falls or accidents are obvious to pinpoint, but cumulative diseases or injuries are more complicated. In that instance, the time starts ticking the day you missed work for your first doctor’s appointment relating to the injury or the timeframe the doctor suggests it began to develop.
You should report the injury as soon as your can to your employer, specifically someone in HR, so they can give you the DWC-1, which is the workers’ compensation claim form. Your employer should also disclose the benefits and how you go about obtaining those.
When filling out the form, be as specific and detailed as possible when you are talking about the parts of your body that suffered as a result of the injury, and once you’re done, hand it directly to your employer in person.
What Happens Next
Once you have filled out the necessary paperwork, the waiting period begins for your employer’s insurance to investigate the claim’s validity. While the investigation is taking place, the insurer should pay for your medical treatment for up to $10,000 in medical bills.
Until your claim is approved, which is usually approved under 90 days, your employer’s insurance company is to pay you temporary disability benefits if you have to miss work due to your injury.
If your claim is denied or you believe you could, and should, get more out of your workers’ compensation benefits, you should consider hiring a workers’ compensation injury lawyer.
This is a great avenue to take if you disagree with how your workplace has handled the workers’ compensation process or if your injuries are severe enough to worsen over time. However, once you accept the settlement in your workers’ comp case and your conditions do worsen, you will not have a whole lot of options.
But, working with a workers’ compensation lawyer who understands California’s worker comp laws can benefit your case. Your attorney can help you review your case and explain your benefits to guide you in the options that are right for your situation.
Workers’ compensation laws and the process can be difficult to understand, and while you’re facing unprecedented health conditions, it could benefit you to have an attorney on your side. If there are any disputes between you and your employer over your settlement or benefits, an attorney can help smooth out the communication.
If you are ready to understand more of your workers’ comp benefits and try to receive the most you can out of your case, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney today.