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How Long Do You Have to Report a Work Injury in California? 2024

Workers’ compensation exists to provide a safety net to injured workers, and almost all employers in the state are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. However, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities in this process and the steps you must fulfill to succeed with your claim. One of the first questions you might ask is, how long do you have to report a work injury in California?

Reporting Your Work Injury

Whenever any type of injury happens in the workplace that requires more than basic first aid, the victim should report the injury to their supervisor immediately. Workers’ compensation can provide medical expense coverage and disability benefits when the injury prevents the victim from working for any extended period of time. However, to qualify for benefits, the injured worker must meet the reporting deadline.

There is a 30-day time limit for reporting an injury at work if you intend to file a workers’ compensation claim. If the injured worker fails to report their injury to their employer within this time limit, the employer’s insurance company will likely disqualify them from receiving any benefits. It is always advisable for an injured worker to report their injury immediately so as to avoid any doubt being cast on the validity of their claim.

If an injured worker does not report an injury to their employer right away, the insurance carrier may assume that the injury could not be as severe as the employee claims; otherwise, they would have reported it sooner. As a general rule, injured workers should report their work injuries to their supervisors immediately and begin the claim filing process for workers’ compensation benefits as quickly as possible.

The Workers’ Compensation Claim Process

Once you report your injury to your employer, they are required to provide you with the form you need to submit to the insurance carrier. After you complete your section of the form, you must have your employer complete their section, and then you may file the form to their insurance carrier. If your employer does not follow these rules, it is important to consult an experienced workers’ comp attorney as quickly as possible.

As part of your claim determination process, your employer’s insurer will likely require you to undergo a formal medical evaluation from a doctor in your area they have approved. This workers’ compensation doctor will assign you a disability rating that reflects the overall severity of the harm you suffered and the scope of long-term or permanent harm you experienced because of it.

If your claim is approved, the insurance company will send a determination of benefits, which will outline the medical expense coverage and disability benefits you are eligible to receive. Most claimants will receive their first check for benefits within a few weeks of their claims being approved. This will cover the income they were unable to earn since their injury, and the insurance carrier will handle billing for all medical care related to their injury.

Filing a report of your injury is just the first of several challenges you face when you are injured at work and need to collect workers’ compensation benefits. Working with a seasoned attorney can make the entire process easier to manage and more likely to yield the benefits you rightfully deserve.


Q: How Long Does an Employer Have to Report an Injury?

A: Once an employer becomes aware of an employee injury, state law dictates that they must file a report to their insurance carrier and the state Division of Workers’ Compensation within five days. If the employer fails or refuses to report any work injury or workplace fatality, the employer faces severe legal penalties, including fines and possibly even jail time.

Q: What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A: The statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim in California is one year from the date the injury happened. However, the employee must report their injury to their employer no later than 30 days after it occurs; otherwise, the employer’s insurance company will likely consider them ineligible to file a claim. It is advisable to report any workplace injury as soon as it occurs to ensure the deadline is met.

Q: How Much Can I Receive in Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

A: The amount you can receive in workers’ compensation benefits depends on the scope and severity of the harm you suffered and how much you typically earn at work. Your benefits determination is likely to include medical expense coverage and wage replacement benefits. A claimant can generally expect all medical care they need for their injury to be covered, and they will receive disability benefits for wage replacement based on their ability to work.

Q: What Is My Employer’s Responsibility When I File an Injury Report?

A: When you file an injury report, your employer has a responsibility to provide you with the forms needed for a workers’ compensation claim within one working day, and once you fill out your section of the form, they must complete the rest of the form and return it to you by the next business day. They are also required to file a report to their insurance company and the state Division of Workers’ Compensation, which may not interfere with your claim.

Q: Should I Hire a Lawyer for a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

A: You should hire a lawyer for a workers’ compensation claim if you want to have the greatest chance of success with the claim. You will also be better prepared to face any unexpected complications that arise with your employer and/or their insurance carrier, and your attorney can help you explore any additional avenues of legal recourse that may be available that could enhance your total recovery.

The Canlas Law Group can provide the guidance you need to navigate the workers’ compensation claim filing process successfully. Reporting your injury is just the first step, and we can guide you through each phase of your claim until you secure the benefits you need to recover. Contact our firm today to schedule a free consultation with an attorney who can provide the legal representation you need in this difficult situation.

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