How Long Does a Workers' Compensation Claim Take?
In many cases, a work-related illness or injury does not only cause pain and suffering. It also causes considerable financial hardship due to lost time away from work, expensive medical bills, and sometimes costly rehabilitation. As such, many people’s concern is to start receiving benefits under workers’ compensation as soon as possible. But how long will it take before you start receiving money? While the length of some workers’ comp claims will be dependent on your employer’s insurance company’s efficiency, there are several things you can do to streamline the process and ensure you receive prompt payment.
California Workers’ Compensation Timeline
Upon being injured or discovering your illness, immediately notify your employer and get medical treatment. In the state of California, employers are required to authorize up to $10,000 worth of appropriate medical treatment within one day of being notified of an employee injury or illness. In other words, you do not need to wait until their insurance company approves or denies your claim in order to receive compensation for your medical bills.
Your next step will be to file a claim. This will involve the following:
- File a DWC-1: Once your employer is notified, they should provide you with a DWC-1 Workers’ Compensation Claim Form for you to complete. Completing this form will officially begin the workers’ comp claim process. You only have 30 days to notify your employer and file this form.
- Wait for your employer’s decision: Within 14 days of receiving your DWC-1, your employer must accept, reject, or delay your claim. If delayed, they will have 90 days to investigate your claim. While they must pay your medical bills during this time, they do not have to pay temporary disability benefits. If you are out of work due to your injuries, you may seek temporary disability under State Disability Insurance (SDI) or any other disability policy you may have. If your claim is not denied within this time period, it will be “presumed compensable” and your disability payments will be required to begin.
- Appealing a denial: If your claim is denied, you may be able to appeal your denial with the assistance of a powerful attorney. This process will involve filling out paperwork, collecting evidence, recording witness testimonies, and seeking evaluations from third-party physicians. Your appeal can take anywhere from a few months to potentially years or litigation. Your attorney can help you evaluate your situation and pursue the most appropriate course of action.
Injured? Get Alvandi Law Group, P.C. On Your Side
Despite its benefits, the California workers’ compensation system can be notoriously complex and unfavorable towards injured workers. At Alvandi Law Group, P.C., our Orange County workers’ compensation lawyers understand the workings of this system and can provide the invaluable support you need to start receiving financial benefits as soon as possible.
Dial (800) 980-6905 or get in touch with our office online today to get started.