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How Long Do I Have to File a Workers’ Comp Claim?

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Injuries at work happen often in Riverside, California. As an employee, you need to protect your rights by understanding how the state’s workers’ compensation system operates. One misstep during the claims process could bar you from recovery for your damages. While the system generally makes it easy for injured workers to recover compensation, a mistake such as a missed deadline to file could take away your chances of a settlement. You do not have an unlimited amount of time in which to file a workers’ compensation claim in California.

Time Limits on California Workers’ Compensation Claims

A workers’ compensation claim does not only involve one deadline. Unlike a civil claim such as a personal injury lawsuit, a workers’ compensation insurance claim does not have just one statute of limitations. Instead, it has multiple time limits you must know and obey as a claimant to have a valid claim. The two most important deadlines to know are the time limit for notifying your employer about your injury and the time limit on filing a workers’ compensation claim.

  • 30 days: You have 30 days maximum to tell your employer about your workplace accident and related injuries. This is one of the requirements for a valid workers’ compensation claim. While you should let management know about the incident as soon as possible, you must do so at least within 30 days. Failing to report the accident by this deadline generally means giving up the right to receive benefits.
  • One year: The other key deadline is for filing the workers’ compensation claim paperwork. You must file a workers’ compensation claim with the California Workers’ Compensation Board within one year of the date of your accident or the discovery of the injury or illness. Missing this deadline could bar you from recovery.
  • Five years: You might also need to know the extended deadline for injuries that cause long-term disabilities (lasting pain, immobility, limited range of motion, etc.). While you must still file the initial claim within one year, if your disability changes in the future, you have five years to file with the Appeals Board for a re-evaluation of benefits.

Do your best to report your accident and injuries right away. Reporting your Riverside work accident promptly can have benefits such as the preservation of important evidence. It can also help the insurance process run more smoothly, eliminating potential delays and allowing you to receive benefits sooner. If your case involves a government entity as a defendant, your deadline to file a workers’ compensation claim could be as short as six months. Act quickly to get your claim in on time.

Deadline for a Personal Injury Work Accident Claim

Qualifying for workers’ compensation benefits means you could recover compensation without needing to prove anyone’s fault for your injury. Before you say yes to a settlement, however, realize what you are giving up. Once you accept workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot bring a personal injury suit against your employer for negligence. Discuss both options with a Riverside workers’ compensation attorney before you decide. If your employer caused your injury through negligence or carelessness, a personal injury lawsuit could result in greater compensation.

You may be eligible for benefits through both workers’ compensation and a personal injury lawsuit if someone other than your employer caused the accident, such as negligent driver, product manufacturer, or property owner. This could maximize your financial recovery. If you wish to pursue a civil claim to damages in California, you must file within two years of the date of the workplace accident.

The Division of Workers’ Compensation and the civil courts are strict with their time limits. Missing a critical deadline for reporting your injury, filing an insurance claim or bringing a personal injury lawsuit could mean giving up your right to receive any compensation. Contact a lawyer in Riverside right away after a work accident to make sure you meet the time limits. Acting quickly can help ensure you do not unintentionally forfeit your right to financial compensation.

Covid 19 Update: We are accepting new cases and we handle everything electronically and remotely, so our clients never have to leave their homes.