How Soon After Sustaining a Work Injury Should I Report It?

After sustaining an injury at work, you may be hesitant to report it. Maybe you’re busy focusing on your recovery. Maybe you’re worried your boss will retaliate against you if you file for workers’ compensation. Or maybe you’re simply daunted by the amount of paperwork. However, each state has a statute of limitations dictating how much time you have to file for workers’ compensation benefits. If you fail to file within the time period, or don’t follow the procedure correctly, you could miss out on benefits entirely. Our Santa Ana workers’ composition attorneys explain how much time to have to file a workers’ compensation claim in California.

When Should I Notify My Boss of My Work Injury?

After your accident, you must report the incident to your boss as soon as possible. Notifying your boss can seem intimidating or unnecessary, but it is actually a vital step of the workers’ compensation process.

Send your supervisor a note in writing including the following details:

  • Your full name and contact information
  • The time and date the incident occurred
  • Where your accident happened
  • How your injury occurred
  • What symptoms you are experiencing

You have 30 days from the date of the incident to send this report to your employer per California law. Your employer is then responsible for handing over the necessary paperwork you need to file your claim.

The Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim is one year. This means that if you submit your claims paperwork over a year after your work accident occurred, your claim will most likely be denied.

However, there is another factor called “discovery.” Discovery applies when you sustain an illness or injury that develops over time, rather than being caused by a singular event. An example of such an ailment would be developing a repetitive stress injury such as carpal tunnel syndrome from typing all day or being diagnosed with lung cancer after years of asbestos exposure.

Let’s take a look at two examples. If you’re working in a warehouse and you fall from a ladder and hurt your leg, you have one year from the date of your fall to file for workers’ compensation. If you work in the same warehouse for many years and are one day diagnosed with rotator cuff tendinitis (a condition that affects the shoulder joint) from lifting boxes over your head every day, you have one year from the date you were diagnosed with (or “discovered”) the injury to file for workers’ compensation.

While you do have a significant amount of time to complete your workers’ compensation claim, we highly recommended getting the procedure out of the way as soon as possible. The sooner you can submit your claims paperwork, the better your memory of the events will be—and the less time your boss will have to come up with a case against you if they choose to retaliate. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney familiar with California law can help you complete your claim as quickly and comprehensively as possible, while protecting you from your boss’ insurance company and anyone else who may try to discredit or delay your claim.

To learn more about how a Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorney can help you, contact Ufkes & Bright today.