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Deadlines for filing a workers’ compensation claim

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Workers' Compensation |

Suffering a workplace accident in California can entitle you to workers’ compensation benefits, but it is important that you file your claim in time.

The workers’ compensation process involves several deadlines. Missing just one can result in a denied claim, depriving you of compensation you need to pay your medical bills and stay financially secure while you recover.

Reporting your injury to your employer and filing your claim

First, you must report your workplace injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident. This notice must be in writing. Verbally telling your employer you are injured is generally not considered reporting for purposes of receiving workers’ compensation benefits.

Next, you must file your workers’ compensation claim within one year. The exception to the one-year rule is if you are a federal employee. In that case, the case falls under federal law, and you have three years.

Sometimes it can be difficult to determine the date of the incident. This is often seen in cases of cumulative injuries.

Specific and cumulative trauma injuries

The California Labor Code lists two different types of injuries: specific injuries and cumulative trauma injuries.

Specific injuries are injuries that result from a specific incident that requires medical attention. A common example is a fall at work that causes a head injury or broken bone.

Cumulative trauma injuries occur due to a series of activities over a period of time. A repetitive stress injury is a typical example of a cumulative trauma injury.

When it comes to determining a date of the incident for a cumulative trauma injury, the clock can start ticking as of the date that your doctor informed you that your injury was work-related or the date that you first missed work because of the injury.

Exceptions to these deadlines usually require a serious situation

Depending on your situation, filing a claim in time might be impossible. Some situations could fall under an exception to these deadlines, such as if you were in a coma.

Overall, when you sustain a work-related injury, the sooner you get started on the workers’ compensation process, the better.