The workers’ compensation system of California has the mission of ensuring that injured workers receive appropriate financial support that covers medical expenses and lost wages while they are unable to work. Unfortunately, navigating the workers’ compensation claim process is quite difficult. This is not only due to the fact that many find the process obtuse and time-consuming, but also the fact that you must complete this process while recovering from a severe injury that takes a tremendous toll on you and your family.

If you have been injured at work recently, it is essential to know how workers’ compensation works and what happens when you file a workers’ compensation claim. Consulting with an experienced California workers’ compensation lawyer is one of the best ways to answer common questions about workers’ compensation and understand how the workers’ compensation laws and regulations will apply to your unique case.

Does Workers’ Compensation Affect Future Employment?

A workers’ compensation claim will indeed appear on a background check should you look for new employment in the future, but you should not consider this a bad thing. Though you might believe this would constitute a “red flag” to the employer, the reality is that an employer cannot discriminate against an applicant simply because they sustained a workplace injury in the past and legitimately sought legally available benefits to assist in their recovery.

How Long Can a Workman’s Comp Case Go On?

In California, the state’s workers’ compensation system allows benefit recipients to continue receiving workers’ compensation benefits for up to 104 weeks within a period of five years. When it comes to the time required to review and process a workers’ compensation claim, California state law dictates that a workers’ compensation board must investigate a claim within 90 days. However, they must authorize coverage for medical treatment within one business day. If the incident resulted in any form of temporary disability, the workers’ compensation system must begin payments within 14 days once they receive the claim. This rule also applies to permanent disability unless the claimant’s employer offers a new position that pays at least 85% up to 100% of the wages they received from their prior position.

How Long Does an Employer Have to Submit a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Timing is a critical factor in any workers’ compensation claim process. The injured employee must notify their employer of the injury within 30 days of the injury, but it is always best to report the injury immediately. Any delay in reporting your injury could eventually cast doubt on the severity of your claimed injuries. Once the employee reports their injury, the employer has one business day to provide them with the necessary claim forms.

After the injured employee completes the claim forms and submits them to their employer, the employer then must transmit the claim forms to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier within five days.

What Are Your Rights If You Get Hurt at Work?

Almost every employee in the United States has the ability to file for workers’ compensation after suffering an injury at work. As an injured employee in California, you have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim under California state law. You also have the right to expect your employer to facilitate and assist with your claim. Injured employees have the right to seek immediate medical care.

Another important right that no injured employee should forget is their right to return to work once they recover. An employer cannot fire you simply because you were injured at work through no fault of your own. Doing so would constitute illegal retaliation, as would demotion, docking your pay, or any other adverse actions from your employer. If your employer cannot return you to your exact previous position, you have the right to alternative employment at an equivalent pay rate. Finally, you have the right to legal representation through every phase of the workers’ compensation claim process.

Do I Really Need an Attorney?

Even if your employer is perfectly reasonable and helpful with your workers’ compensation claim, the claim process itself is very complex. Hiring a reliable and trustworthy California workers’ compensation attorney is one of the best ways to protect your rights throughout the entire workers’ compensation system process as it applies to your case.

Your California workers’ compensation lawyer can assist you with completing your claim form and gathering any documentation you might need to submit for review. Your legal team can also help you with appeals and hearings related to your claim, assist you in addressing any workplace friction or retaliation resulting from your claim, and much more. Contact an experienced California workers’ compensation lawyer as soon as possible after a workplace injury for the best chance of a successful recovery from your losses.