When you suffer an injury on the job that prevents you from working, you may be eligible for workers’ compensation insurance payments. You must take action as soon as possible to avoid missing the deadline to file a claim, however.

Follow these steps to file a workers’ compensation claim in California:

Report your injury

Depending on the severity of your injury, you should seek first aid, visit an urgent care center or emergency room, or call 911. As soon as possible, tell your direct supervisor about your workplace injury. If the injury or illness has a gradual onset, report it as soon as you recognize that the symptoms have developed in response to your job duties.

Complete a claim form

Your employer has one business day to mail or give you a claim form after receiving notice of your injury. Complete only the section of the form for employees before returning it to your employer. Consider using certified mail so that you have a record of the submission date. Your employer must complete the employer section of the form and submit it to the company’s insurance provider.

Receive a claim decision

The insurance company must give notice of the status of your claim within 14 days. While you are waiting for approval, your employer must provide up to $10,000 in medical treatment. The company must authorize the use of these funds within one day of receiving your claim form. Upon acceptance of your claim, you will receive payments to cover the cost of:

  • Medical care
  • Temporary and/or permanent disability
  • Retraining or job skills classes if you can no longer perform your former duties because of the injury

If your employer denies your claim, you may appeal this decision. The insurance company may require an appointment with a qualified medical evaluator. This doctor has completed advanced education and training in the workers’ comp evaluation process and can resolve disputes between you and your employer’s insurance company.