California law requires all companies and organizations that have employees within the state to obtain the appropriate no-fault workers’ compensation insurance coverage. California workers’ compensation laws put legal responsibilities on both employers and employees. What happens if an employee is late to report their work injury? It could be a good cause to deny their claim. Here, our Bakersfield workers’ compensation defense lawyers discuss the most important things that employers need to know about denying a workers’ compensation claim for late notice in California.

Your Employees Have Legal Duties Under California Law: Timely Reporting of a Claim

As an employer in California, it is useful to understand the legal duties of your employees. Under state law, workplace injuries/illnesses must be reported to the employer in a timely manner. Under California Labor Code § 5400, the general rule is that your employees have a duty to report their work-related injury or illness within 30 days from the date of the incident. An employee must complete and submit the Workers’ Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) & Notice of Potential Eligibility. If a work injury or work illness is verbally reported to an employer or supervisor (agent of the employer), the company should be sure to provide the employee with the appropriate legal forms.

A Workers’ Compensation Claim Can Be Denied on the Grounds of Late Notice

Here is the key thing to know: Employers have the right to deny a workers’ compensation claim if they deem that the employee has not met the reporting deadline. Timely reporting is crucial as late reporting can result in higher costs for the employer due to the potential exacerbation of the worker’s alleged injury/illness. Of course, late reporting also cast some significant doubt on the veracity of the claim. 

Cumulative Trauma Claims are More Complicated (Onset Date is Not Always Clear)

The timeline in a workplace injury claim involving a specific accident is usually relatively straightforward. There is a clear date upon which the incident happened. However, cumulative trauma claims—any type of work injury or work illness with a gradual onset—can be a lot more difficult to pin down. Under California Labor Code § 5412, there is a one-year statute of limitations in cumulative trauma workers’ compensation claims. The statute of limitations begins to run when the claimant (employee) knew or should have known that they were injured or ill and a work-related cause was likely. Cumulative trauma should still be reported to employers in a timely manner. Though, the reporting deadline is not always so clear.

Set Up a Confidential Consultation With a Bakersfield Workers’ Compensation Defense Lawyer

At Yrulegui & Roberts, our California workers’ compensation defense attorney puts time and resources behind every case. Have questions about denying workers’ compensation benefits? Our team can help. Call us today or contact us online for your fully private, no-obligation consultation. We defend workers’ compensation claims in Bakersfield, Kern County, and communities beyond.