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Don’t Wait Out Your Benefit: California’s Workers’ Comp Statute

You might not know it—depending on the circumstances, you may not even think of the possibility—but the moment you sustain an injury at your workplace, the clock starts ticking.

Once you are injured, there are two major deadlines you will need to keep in mind.

1. First report of injury: Notifying your employer.

Though it can be hard to believe, there are some situations where fairly severe injuries may occur under your employer’s radar. Sometimes, you might not even know an injury has occurred.

If you know that you’ve been injured on the job, tell your immediate supervisor as soon as possible. Your next step will be to document the incident to your employer by filing a DWC-1/First Report of Injury. This form will allow you to describe when, where and how the injury occurred as well as what the immediate effects of it were in full detail.

Do not wait on reporting a known injury to your employer. In most cases, you are given a relatively brief window of time—30 days—to file a DWC-1 before losing your right to file a workers’ compensation claim.


2. Filing a claim for workers’ compensation.

Generally, as long as you’ve completed the first step and notified your employer, you are given one year to file a claim, starting with one of the following:

  • The date the injury occurred
  • The date the injury was discovered
  • The date by which the injury should have been discovered


Some workplace injuries may not demonstrate symptoms or get diagnosed within one year of the period in which they were sustained. If you think that might be the case for you, it could mean you have special circumstances.

Special Circumstances

Examples of injuries that may not become apparent for several years after they were sustained:

  • Cumulative trauma injury
  • Stress injuries
  • Asbestosis


Generally, if you are filing a claim for injuries of this nature, it may be in your best interests to review your options with a knowledgeable Northern California worker’s compensation attorney before going forward. Learn more by contacting the Ledgerwood Law Group today by filling out the online form or calling 888-761-7383. Be sure to request a copy of our informative report, The Northern California Workers’ Compensation Survival Manual, available to you free.

Thomas Ledgerwood
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Proprietor Ledgerwood Law Group