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Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld

Relentlessly Protecting California Workers' Rights Since 1956

What is the Process for First Responders to File an Appeal for Workers’ Compensation Benefits in California?


At Ghitterman, Ghitterman & Feld, our Santa Barbara workers’ compensation attorneys have protected the rights of California workers since 1956 — including brave first responders whose livelihoods depend on receiving benefits after being hurt during their employment.

When first responders are denied workers’ compensation benefits, the lack of medical coverage and financial support puts their physical, emotional, and financial health at risk. We can help.

Filing an appeal for workers’ compensation benefits in California can be a complex process, and first responders need to follow the proper steps to protect their rights.

Here, we provide a general overview of the process for first responders to file an appeal for workers’ compensation benefits in California.

Did You Follow the Proper Steps During Your First Workers’ Compensation Benefits Request?

When first responders are denied workers’ compensation benefits, it is imperative to review the initial process to ensure all the proper steps were taken.

First, they must notify their employers immediately after a work-related injury or illness occurs. California law requires the injury to be reported within 30 days.

Next, first responders must seek medical treatment promptly. Employers or their workers’ compensation insurers should provide a list of authorized medical providers for initial treatment.

The employer or their insurer is generally responsible for paying for your medical care.

The employer should have provided a claim form (DWC-1) to initiate the workers’ compensation process. The first responder is responsible for filling out the claim form accurately and completely. Once the employer receives the claim form, they must complete their portion and submit it to their workers’ compensation insurer.

The insurer is then responsible for approving or denying benefits and will notify the first responder of their decision. We can help you appeal the decision if your benefits have been denied. Here is how the California workers’ compensation benefits appeal process works.

How to Appeal a California Workers’ Compensation Benefits Denial

First responders can dispute the decision if their claim is denied or they are unsatisfied with the benefits provided. Working with an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you navigate the complex legal process and protect your rights, which can be highly beneficial during appeals. The next steps must be intricately followed to achieve a successful outcome.

We can help by:

  • Filing an Application for Adjudication of Claim with the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.
  • Attending mediation or a settlement conference to attempt to resolve the dispute.
  • Representing your best interests in a formal hearing before a workers’ compensation judge if no agreement is reached. If dissatisfied with the judge’s decision, we can appeal to the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board.

California's workers’ compensation system can be filled with obstacles, and first responders facing workplace injuries should ensure that they follow all the necessary steps to receive the benefits they deserve. Consulting with our trusted legal professionals specializing in workers’ compensation can help minimize the risks associated with having your claim denied.

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 more about your legal rights and options. 

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