The statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in California mandates that you notify your employer of your work-related injury or diagnosis within 30 days of the incident and file your claim within a year of suffering your injury.
Ideally, if the accident happened at work due to a one-time issue, you will fill out any injury reports required by your employer on the day of the accident. If you didn’t discover your work-related injury at work—such as in a doctor’s office—you have 30 days to notify your employer and fill out the form.
After that, you have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim for your expenses. Sometimes, you are not aware of the long-term expenses that come with your work-related injury. For this reason, you have time to file your claim afterward.
According to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), once you file your workers’ compensation claim, an administrator must decide to accept or deny your claim within a reasonable timeframe. However, the laws do not specify what counts as a “reasonable” timeframe. If you feel they have taken too long to decide, it is OK to follow up.
Statute of Limitations
Two statutes of limitations will impact your workers’ compensation claim in the Golden State:
- California Labor Code (LAB) §5400: 30 days to notify the employer and fill out the necessary paperwork.
- LAB §5405: One year after the incident to file a claim.
Should these dates pass, you may not be able to file a workers’ compensation claim for your injuries. If this happens to you—for example, consider if you develop mesothelioma because of frequent on-the-job exposure decades afterward— you might have other ways to recoup compensation related to your injuries. You might want to consult a workers’ compensation lawyer to understand all your legal options before deciding you have no way of recovering compensation for your injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Laws in California
California has strict workers’ compensation laws that cover all employees, no matter the size of the employer. If the injury occurred at work, the workers’ compensation program could cover it. According to LAB §3600, you cannot intentionally self-inflict the injury. Whether negligence played a part in causing your injury does not affect your eligibility to file a claim.
Types of Worker’s Compensation Benefits
California offers four types of workers’ compensation benefits. Medical benefits cover the cost of your treatments, hospital stays, doctor’s visits, and physical therapy. It also covers any prescription medications or durable medical equipment you may need. Disability benefits provide you with compensation when you cannot work because of your injury. You could receive partial or full benefits available on a temporary or permanent basis.
In the event that you cannot return to the same line of work because of your injury, the workers’ compensation program’s career support benefits can help pay for your transition to a new job that you can perform despite your injury. These benefits include certification classes, out-of-pocket expenses, and licensing as required by your new career.
When a worker dies from an accident at work, their family members could qualify for death benefits on their behalf. These benefits can help to pay final expenses and funeral costs. It can also help families who lose their sole breadwinner survive until the remaining family members have time to find employment.
Reasons to Hire a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
It is possible to manage the entire workers’ compensation process on your own. However, many people choose not to do so. First, you still must recover from your injury. Filling out paperwork, negotiating settlements, and finding appropriate evidence take time and effort, which could be a lot to manage on top of surgeries, doctors’ visits, and physical therapy appointments. Hiring a lawyer can make the process of filing a claim easier on you, allowing you to focus on your recovery and getting your life back on track.
If you have a complicated case, such as if you have pre-existing conditions, you might find it more difficult to get the approval you need. By working with a lawyer, you can discuss strategies to overcome this obstacle and get the approval you deserve. Your workers’ compensation lawyer can also negotiate settlements and give you honest feedback about your claim.
Contact Pintas & Mullins Law Firm to Schedule a No-Risk Consultation
If you have any questions about the statute of limitations for workers’ compensation in California, contact the office of Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today at (800) 529-9122. You can schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get answers to your questions about workers’ compensation and whether you qualify for benefits. There is no cost for the consultation to get more information without any commitment or risk.