An Overview of an Injured Employee’s California Workers’Compensation Case

At Gateway Pacific Law Group (GPACLAW), we understand the stress and uncertainty
facing an injured worker. This guide aims to walk you through the timeline of a California
workers’ compensation case, empowering you to make informed decisions throughout the

Remember, GPACLAW is here to advocate for your rights and maximize your benefits.
This guide is merely a summary of what generally occurs in a workers’ compensation case and
is not meant to be a comprehensive explanation of what occurs in a workers’ compensation
case. Each case is different. Also, this guide is not legal advice. Instead, it is meant to provide
an overview of what generally occurs in a workers’ compensation case, and therefore, is
informative in nature.

Timeline of a California Workers’ Compensation Case

Timeline of a CA Workers' Compensation Case

Day 1: Injury Occurs

Immediately report the injury to your supervisor, even if it seems minor. This establishes a clear
record of the incident.

Seek medical attention promptly. Obtain documentation of your condition and
treatment plan.

If your doctor determines that you cannot work due to the seriousness of your injury, you may be
eligible for Temporary Disability Benefits (TTD). These benefits are a portion of your lost wages
and are payable if you’re unable to perform your usual job for more than three days.

If the workers’ compensation insurance company decides to deny coverage, the issue of
whether your injury is covered must be litigated. If you’re unable to work during this time, you
may be eligible for State Disability Insurance (SDI). The payments are similar to TTD, but are
paid by the State.

Day 1-30: Report the Injury Formally

File a DWC Form 1: This official injury report documents your claim with the Division of Workers’
Compensation (DWC).

Consult with an attorney: Understanding your rights and legal options early on is crucial.

Day 30-90: Investigation and Initial Response

The employer’s insurance company investigates your claim and may accept or deny it.

If denied, your attorney can help you file an Application for Adjudication with the DWC.

*Sometimes, you don’t realize you are injured until months or years after the initial injury. Also,
sometimes, your injury is not from a single incident, instead, it is from continuous or repetitive use of a
body part. In these cases, contact an attorney like GPACLAW once you realize you are or may be injured.
We might be able to help you!

Day 90-180: Pre-Hearing Process

Discovery phase involves exchanging information and medical records.

Your attorney negotiates with the insurance company regarding medical treatment and
temporary disability payments.

Day 180+: Hearing (if necessary)

If negotiations fail, a formal hearing before a judge is scheduled.
Your attorney presents evidence and arguments supporting your claim.
The judge issues a decision regarding your benefits and medical treatment.

Settlement or Trial:

Most cases settle before trial. Your attorney negotiates a fair settlement based on your injuries
and disability.

If no agreement is reached, your case proceeds to trial for the judge to determine benefits.

Tips for Maximizing Benefits:

  1. Hire an Experienced Workers’ Compensation Attorney: An attorney can navigate the complexities of workers’ compensation laws and ensure you receive the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
  2. Document everything: Keep copies of all medical records, communication with your employer and the DWC, and accident reports.
  3. Follow your doctor’s recommendations: Adherence to the treatment plan strengthens your claim.
  4. Follow Through With All Treatment Recommendations: Compliance with treatment plans is essential for recovery and your claim’s success.
  5. Be honest and truthful: Do not exaggerate your injuries or make false statements.
  6. Communicate with your attorney: Stay informed and ask questions throughout the process.
  7. Don’t accept the first offer: Your attorney can help you negotiate a fair settlement that reflects your full entitlements.

Remember: You are not alone. GPACLAW is dedicated to fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive the compensation and medical care you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us guide you through your workers’ compensation journey.

Disclaimer: This guide provides general information and should not be construed as legal advice. Individual circumstances may vary. Please consult with an attorney for personalized guidance on your specific case.

Workers Compensation lawyer Roger Haag
About The Author

Roger Haag is an attorney who specializes in consumer, labor, and employment law, primarily representing employees. Mr. Haag has extensive experience in various legal proceedings, including arbitration hearings, administrative hearings, bench and jury trials, and has even presented arguments before the California Courts of Appeal. Additionally, Mr. Haag served in the United States Navy and also has professional experience with the Department of the Navy’s Civilian Acquisition Workforce and Chief of Naval Operations Executive Panel in Washington D.C.


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