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What are the first steps to obtaining workers' compensation?

You've been injured at work or become ill because of your workplace environment. Now what?

Most likely, you will need to file a claim for workers' compensation benefits through your employer. Please obtain a copy of the DWC-1 claim form from your employer, complete it and return it to them to initiate the process.

The most important thing to do after a workplace injury is to get the medical treatment you need. If there are serious injuries, call 9-1-1 or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.

It is also important to report your injury to your employer as soon as possible after the accident for acute injuries, or as soon as you are aware of a work-related injury or illness that developed over a period of time. In either case, failure to report within 30 days may cause you to lose your right to workers' compensation benefits.

After notification of your injury or illness, your employer has one working day to provide you with the workers' compensation claim form. You must fill out the employee section and return it to your employer as soon as possible. They then complete the employer section and send it to their insurance company.

You will receive a copy of the completed form, and the insurance company has 14 days to inform you of the status of your claim. If your employer does not deny your claim within 90 days, it is presumed to be covered.

If your claim is denied, you have a right to file an objection to this decision. You can do so with the help of an experienced workers' compensation attorney, who can also assist you at any phase in the claims process.

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