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California Workers’ Compensation Laws 2024 – Statute of Limitations

Getting hurt or sick due to job conditions or simply from work-related tasks can be extremely frustrating. This could involve getting hit with a heavy object on a construction site, chemicals in a factory slowly leading to cancer development, or a number of other scenarios. California workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect both employees and employers when someone gets hurt on the job.

The Statute of Limitations for Workers’ Compensation

A statute of limitations determines how long a party has to file a claim. In workers’ comp claims, you generally have one year from the injury to file a claim. This one-year date assumes that you were initially aware of the injury and had the opportunity to file a claim.

There are times when the one-year statute of limitations may be adjusted. For example, if you develop cancer due to working conditions, you may not realize that you are sick until much later. In that case, the one-year limit may begin at the time the illness or injury is discovered. Another exception may be a company or insurer trying to conceal evidence or grounds for a workers’ comp case. This may change the timeline to start one year from the date the concealment is discovered.

There are further possible exceptions to the statute of limitations, such as in the case of a minor. Typically, a minor will be given one year from the date of their 18th birthday to file a claim. Overall, the sooner you can file a claim and document your case, the better. An experienced attorney can also help you understand how the statute of limitations applies to your case.

Possible Benefits From Workers’ Comp

Workers’ compensation is not usually a permanent solution, but it does provide assistance to workers who need extra financial support due to their work-related injuries or illnesses. There are various benefits that may be available. If you file a successful workers’ comp claim, you may receive:

  • Payments to cover your medical care, including a percentage of the money it takes to get to and from medical appointments
  • Temporary disability, which is partial pay to make up for lost wages while you are unable to work
  • Permanent disability, which are benefits for those who are unable to fully recover and are permanently impacted by their injury or illness
  • Death benefits, which would go to dependents and eligible recipients of the deceased

Reporting Your Work-Related Injury

Although the statute of limitations is generally one year, this does not mean that you should wait one year to document the injury or illness and file a claim. Even if you are not certain whether you will file a workers’ comp claim, you should report your injury or illness to your employer as soon as you become aware of it. Make sure to give a written notice of the injury to your employer within 30 days of the incident.

Along with reporting the incident or illness to your employer, you should also make sure to document your situation with a doctor. Be sure to inform them that the injury or illness is work-related so that your patient notes reflect the situation correctly.

Insurance Requirements for Employers

Having workers’ comp insurance is a requirement for employers in California. If you are employed in the state, then you theoretically have workers’ comp insurance as a resource if you get hurt or injured as a result of your job or job site.

If you find out that your employer does not have the required workers’ comp insurance, there are still options available to you. You can sue your employer in a civil claim to gain compensation for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering. Beyond this, you can still file a workers’ comp claim, as the state has set up the Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund for individuals whose companies did not follow regulations and insure their employees.

FAQs About California Workers’ Compensation Laws

How Does Workers’ Compensation Work in California?

To receive workers’ comp, you must initially file a workers’ compensation claim form, which you should receive directly from your employer. You should do this promptly, within the first day after the injury if possible. Your employer is responsible for adding additional information and submitting the form to the insurance company in a timely manner.

Is My Job Protected While on Workers’ Comp in California?

It is illegal for your employer to fire you based on your injury. This can get complicated, as the law essentially prevents discrimination based on your injury, but proving that an employer is being discriminatory may not be easy. If you believe that your company fired you solely based on your injury, then speaking with a qualified legal advisor may be wise.

What Is the 90-Day Rule for Workers’ Comp in California?

The 90-day rule is the amount of time that an employer’s insurance company has to respond to your workers’ comp claim. If an employer does not respond to your claim within 90 days, then it is typically assumed to have been accepted. Even if the insurer ultimately denies the claim, the insurer is still responsible for up to $10,000 in medical bills while your claim is being investigated.

How Long Can an Employee Be on Workers’ Compensation in California?

The length of time that an employee can be on workers’ comp depends on the injury itself. The majority of workers’ comp cases will not last more than 104 weeks, which is around two years. More severe injuries, such as extensive burns, may be eligible for 240 weeks of workers’ comp. This amounts to just under five years. There is also a permanent disability option through workers’ comp.

Contact Canlas Law Group

If you have been injured in a work-related accident or believe that your health has been impacted by your work conditions or tasks, then workers’ compensation may be available to you. The first steps are to get the medical help you need, document the situation as thoroughly as possible, and find a knowledgeable and caring lawyer who can support you.

If you are looking for a seasoned lawyer, Canlas Law Group wants to use our experience to partner with you and get you the maximum compensation you deserve. If you have questions or want support, reach out to us today.

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