While most employers must carry workers’ compensation, obtaining benefits through workers’ comp is not an automatic process when a worker suffers an injury. When a California worker does become injured, there are certain steps that he or she will need to complete in order to potentially obtain workers’ comp.

Prior to filing for workers’ comp, an injured employee should seek medical treatment. If the employer requires a worker to see a specific doctor, the worker should see that doctor first. Workers may be able to get a second opinion from a doctor of their choice if they are not satisfied. Once a medical professional has been seen, the employer must be notified within the statutory deadline. Notifications should be in writing and should contain all relative information, such as what the injury was, when it occurred and how it occurred.

Once the necessary paperwork has been completed, the worker’s part in the process is mostly complete. However, a worker who has been injured should continue to follow up on the claim and keep meticulous records, including receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses resulting from the injury. A worker who has suffered an injury may also wish to take note of how the injury affects his or her day-to-day activities and ability to work.

When an employee files a workers’ compensation claim, employers that have a certain number of employees have responsibilities that are required by law. For example, if an employer that is required to have workers’ comp does not, the company could face lawsuits, fines and criminal charges. Additionally, employers cannot retaliate against workers who file claims. When workplace accidents do occur, a workers’ compensation attorney may assist with filing the paperwork for a claim. In the event that the claim is detailed, the attorney may assist with the appeals process.