Follow our step-by-step guide to filing a worker’s compensation claim in California. From reporting the injury to resolving disputes, learn the essential steps to take for a successful claim. Discover how to navigate the claims process effectively and access the benefits you deserve in California.


Please call our office at (714) 535-5090 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Section 1: Reporting the Injury or Illness
The first step in the claims process is to report the injury or illness to your employer as soon as possible. In California, you have 30 days from the date of the injury or the date you became aware of the work-related illness to report it. It is crucial to report the incident in writing and keep a copy for your records. Include details such as the date, time, location, and a description of how the injury or illness occurred.

Section 2: Seeking Medical Treatment
After reporting the injury, you should seek immediate medical treatment from an authorized healthcare provider. In California, your employer has the right to choose the initial treating physician. Ensure you inform the healthcare provider that your injury is work-related, as this is important for billing purposes and to establish a connection between the injury and your employment.

Section 3: Completing the DWC-1 Form
Your employer should provide you with a DWC-1 form, also known as the “Employee Claim Form.” This form is used to officially file your worker’s compensation claim. Fill out the form accurately, providing all the necessary details about your injury, the date it occurred, and any medical treatment received. Keep a copy of the completed form for your records and submit it to your employer or their insurance company.

Section 4: Investigation and Decision on the Claim
Once your claim is submitted, your employer’s insurance company will conduct an investigation. They may request additional medical documentation or statements from you and your healthcare provider. The insurance company has 90 days from the date they receive your claim form to either accept or deny your claim. If they accept it, they will provide you with benefits. If they deny it, they must provide a written explanation for the denial.

Section 5: Resolving Disputes
If your claim is denied or you disagree with the decision made by the insurance company, you have the right to dispute it. In California, you can request a mandatory settlement conference, mediation, or a hearing before a workers’ compensation judge. It is advisable to seek legal representation from a worker’s compensation attorney who specializes in California law to guide you through the dispute resolution process.

Section 6: Receiving Benefits
If your claim is accepted, you may be eligible for various benefits, such as medical treatment, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, or death benefits. The specific benefits you receive depend on the nature and severity of your injury or illness. It is essential to keep detailed records of all medical treatments, expenses, and any changes in your condition to ensure you receive the appropriate benefits.


Please call our office at (714) 535-5090 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.

Navigating the worker’s compensation claims process in California can be complex, but understanding the step-by-step procedure can help you protect your rights and access the benefits you deserve. Remember to report the injury promptly, seek medical treatment, complete the necessary forms accurately, and be prepared to resolve any disputes that may arise. Seeking guidance from a worker’s compensation attorney experienced in California law can provide valuable support throughout the claims process.