Filing Workers' Comp: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you have sustained an injury on the job, you have the right to recover benefits under California’s workers' compensation Act. Under this act, it is mandatory for employers to provide medical treatment and pay workers’ compensation benefits to any injured employee.

You are obligated to file a claim for workers’ comp benefits in a timely manner. Failing to do so can jeopardize your chances of obtaining compensation to cover your medical expenses and loss of income from being out of work.

The following is a step-by-step guide to filing for workers’ compensation in California:

  • If necessary, get immediate medical treatment. If the injury is serious enough to require emergency care, call an ambulance. If the injury is less serious, get first aid at the site and then see your doctor. Additionally, inform the hospital or doctor that your injury is from a work-related incident.
  • Report the injury to your employer. Let your employer know about the accident immediately. You have no longer than 30 days after the accident to alert your employer.
  • Continue to receive medical care. It is by law that your employer provides you with the necessary medical care for a work-related injury. Furthermore, your doctor will be able to document the full extent of your injury.
  • File a worker’s comp claim. You must file a “DWC-1” form, which should be provided to you by your employer. If your employer does not do that, you can download a copy from the DWC website at Once you carefully complete the form, submit it to your employer. Make sure you keep a copy before you turn the form in.
  • Wait for the insurance company’s response. The workers’ comp insurance provider must respond to your claim within 14 days. They must either start making temporary disability payments, will send you a denial let of your claim, or state the insurance company is investigating your claim. If the insurance company doesn’t respond within 14 days, they’re liable to a 10% penalty on the temporary disability payments you should have received within the first 14 days.

Whether your employer refuses to cooperate with the workers’ comp process or your initial claim was denied, contact our Glendale workers’ comp attorneys at the Law Office of Wax & Wax and schedule your free consultation today.