Since 1956, our Santa Barbara workers’ compensation attorneys at Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld have helped injured employees throughout California to ensure they have access to the benefits they are entitled to after they have been sidelined by a workplace accident.
Part of our success includes informing our clients of their obligations and responsibilities to ensure a smooth and effective workers’ compensation claims process.
If you have been hurt at work, you must follow the necessary protocols to ensure the insurance company positively views your claim. Here, we discuss those essential factors so you do not leave any critical details to chance.
How Can Injured California Employees Help Secure Workers’ Compensation Benefits?
Understanding and fulfilling your employee obligations is crucial for obtaining workers’ compensation benefits in California.
All injured employees must:
- Report the Injury Promptly
Report any work-related injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible.
Inform your employer verbally and in writing about the details of the injury, including when, where, and how it occurred. Provide this notice to your employer within 30 days of the injury or when you became aware of a work-related illness. Any delays in reporting may affect the validity of your claim.
Complete and submit a Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC-1) to your employer immediately. This form officially initiates the workers’ compensation claims process.
- Seek Medical Treatment
Obtain necessary medical treatment promptly. You have the right to choose your treating physician from a list provided by your employer or workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
- Follow the Prescribed Medical Advice
Comply with the treatment plan prescribed by your treating physician. Follow medical advice to ensure your eligibility for benefits is met.
- Cooperate with the Claims Process
Cooperate fully with the workers’ compensation claims process. This includes providing all necessary information, documents, and statements to your employer, the insurance carrier, and any other parties involved in the claims process.
Attend Medical Examinations
Attend any medical evaluations requested by the workers’ compensation insurance carrier. This may include independent medical examinations (IME) conducted by a physician the insurance company chose.
- Keep Records
Keep records of all communications, medical treatment, and expenses related to the injury. This includes documenting dates, times, and details of incidents, as well as preserving medical bills and receipts.
- Return to Work, if Possible
If your treating physician determines that you can return to work with restrictions, make a good-faith effort to return to suitable modified or alternative employment provided by your employer.
- Participate in Vocational Rehabilitation, if Necessary
If your injury prevents you from returning to your previous job, cooperate with any vocational rehabilitation services that may be offered to help you transition to a different role or occupation.
- Communicate Changes in Employment Status
Keep your employer and the workers’ compensation insurance carrier informed of any changes in your employment status, including changes in your ability to work or significant improvements in your condition.
By fulfilling these obligations, employees contribute to the efficiency of the workers’ compensation process and help ensure that they receive the benefits to which they are entitled under California law.
If you have questions or encounter challenges during the process, contact our dedicated workers' compensation attorneys in California, who can provide assistance and advocate for your rights.
We have six physical offices in Bakersfield, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria, Ventura, and Visalia, and our top-tier technologies provide a virtual reach to serve clients throughout California. We offer free in-person, telephone, and virtual consultations to offer straightforward legal advice for your unique needs.
Contact us today to learn how we can help.