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If you or somebody you love sustains an injury while at work in San Bernardino or anywhere else in California, you should be entitled to payments through the state workers’ compensation system. Workers’ comp in California is supposed to pay for a work injury victim’s medical expenses, lost wages, and disability benefits if they are necessary. However, work injuries must be reported to an employer. Here, we want to discuss the importance of reporting all injuries to your employer, including all statutory reporting deadlines.
Under the California workers’ compensation law, we will see that any person who sustains an on-the-job injury or illness must alert their employer within 30 days from the onset of the injury or illness. The injured worker must also fill out an official workers’ compensation claim by filling out the employee’s portion of the form, which will typically be provided by the employer when they receive notification of the injury.
There are various rules in place to determine when this 30-day period starts. If your work injury developed over a longer period of time (such as an occupational illness or a repetitive stress injury), then determining the exact date of the onset of the injury or illness can be more challenging. Usually, the 30-day reporting requirement will begin from the time the person receives a diagnosis of the injury or illness.
The first person that you need to alert to your injury is your immediate supervisor. Who this person is will look different for every person depending on their work situation. Some employers have specific employees that work injuries are to be reported to. In other cases, any supervisor will suffice. However, when a worker reports their injury, it is crucial that they make sure that their supervisor understands the severity of the incident. They must make sure that the injury is properly documented so that there will be no issues when working to seek compensation for medical bills, lost income, or disability through a workers’ compensation claim.
Aside from immediately reporting a work injury, the injury victim must seek medical care for their injury. When an injured worker fails to seek medical care, this gives the employer and the insurance carrier a reason to deny the workers’ compensation claim. We always advise any person who sustains an on-the-job injury or illness to alert their employer and then go immediately seek medical care. In fact, this is actually the policy of many employers throughout California.
Often, a person who sustains an on-the-job injury or illness may not think that the incident is serious. As we mentioned, injured workers do need to seek medical care as soon as possible. However, if they forego immediate care but then later realize that the injury or illness is more severe than they thought, they may still be able to recover compensation.
Above, we talked about the 30-day reporting deadline that injured workers need to be aware of. However, notifying an employer of a job-related injury or illness is not the same thing as actually filing a workers’ compensation claim in California. In order to officially file a claim, the injured worker needs to file an Application for Adjudication of Claim and Declaration Pursuant to Labor Code 4906(g).
The official California work injury statute of limitations for filing this form is one year from the date of the job-related injury or illness. If an injured worker fails to file a claim within one year from the onset of their injury or illness, they will likely lose the right to recover any compensation at all.
Contact a San Bernardino workers compensation attorney if you need help filing a claim.