CA Workers Comp FAQ

1. Are companies required to provide a safety program or an injury prevention program?

In California, all employers are required to both provide and maintain a safe and healthy workplace for employees. Under the California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973, all employers must have a written and effective Injury and Illness Prevention (IIPP) Program in place. This program may take different forms depending on your work environment and job requirements. For example, a construction company will likely have an IIP Program that focuses on safety on job sites. An employer whose workers primarily work on computers will have a much different safety program in place.

2. What is the protocol if or when I get hurt on the job?

If you are hurt on the job, you will want to take several steps to protect your legal rights. First, you should immediately notify your employer of the injury. Under California law, you have 30 days to report an injury to your company. If you delay reporting, your employer may not be required to provide workers’ compensation benefits. 

Second, you should seek medical treatment for your injury. If you require emergency care, this should be done before notifying your employer of your injury. California employers are required to post a notice of the medical care network, also known as an MPN, that the company uses to treat injured employees. 

Third, when receiving medical treatment, make sure to inform the doctor that the injury occurred while on-the-job. You should also be sure to tell your physician about all of your symptoms so that they can fully treat you — and so that the extent of your injuries is documented appropriately.

Fourth, fill out and submit a claim form. Within one day of an injury report, California law requires employers to give employees a claim form. Fill this out as soon as possible and return it to your employer.

Fifth, contact a California workers’ compensation attorney. While some claims are handled fairly, a lawyer can help ensure that you get the full range of benefits that you are entitled to under the law and given the extent of your injuries.

3. If I do not discover an injury right away or if it develops over time, will this affect receiving workers’ compensation benefits?

While many work injuries happen because of an accident, such as a fall, others happen over time and may not be discovered immediately. This is known as cumulative trauma, which is a type of work injury that happens over a longer period of time. For example, if you work on a computer each day, you may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. Similarly, if you lift relatively heavy objects on a daily basis, you might develop back problems after months or years of doing this work.

The statute of limitations — the period of time to file a claim — for California’s workers’ compensation claims is one year from the date of injury. For cumulative trauma, the statute of limitations begins when an employee discovers an injury and either knows or should have known that it was caused by work. At this point, the employee should file an injury report and begin the process of filing a claim with the help of a California workers’ compensation attorney. 

4. What is the required time frame to report an injury?

Under California law, you must report a workplace injury to your employer within 30 days. If you fail to do so, your claim for workers’ compensation benefits may be barred. A skilled California workers’ compensation attorney can advise you of your rights and help you file reports and claim forms within the appropriate deadlines.

5. If I am approved for workers’ compensation, what benefits will I be entitled to? 

The benefits that you may receive depend on the type and severity of your injury. Generally, you may be entitled to:

  • Medical treatment for the cure or relief of your industrial injury or illness;
  • Temporary disability indemnity (TTD) payments for when you are unable to work (up to a maximum of 104 weeks);
  • Permanent disability (PD) benefits if your medical condition is permanently affected by your injury or illness; 
  • Supplemental job displacement benefits to train you and help you find new work if you cannot return to regular or modified work due to your injury or illness; and/or
  • Death benefits if a person dies as a result of their workplace injury or illness. 

6. If a workplace injury develops over time or if I end up contracting a work-related illness, do the protocols differ from filing a general workers’ compensation claim?

If you suffer a cumulative trauma (a workplace injury that develops over time) or contract a work-related illness, there is a difference in the process for filing for a workers’ compensation claim. In California, you are required to report a workplace injury within 30 days of the accident or injury. However, because you may not be aware that you have been injured or developed an illness immediately, there is a different standard.

For injuries that develop over time or work-related illnesses, the date of injury for workers’ compensation purposes is when: (1) there is a disability; and (2) you knew or should have known that the injury or illness was caused by work. You then have one year to file a workers’ compensation claim from this date. 

7. Where can I find the required DWC-1 claim form if my employer hasn’t provided me with it?

California employers are required to provide the DWC-1 claim form and notice of potential eligibility within one day of an employee reporting a work injury. If your employer does not provide this form to you, it is available from the California Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers’ Compensation website.

8. How long does it usually take for the insurance company to investigate a claim?

After you file a claim form, the workers compensation insurance company has up to 90 days to accept or deny it. During this time, you can still receive medical treatment. You are entitled to up to $10,000 in medical treatment even if the claim is eventually denied.

9. What happens after the allotted time has passed and I do not receive an approval or a denial?

If the insurance company fails to act on your claim form within 90 days, then it is deemed accepted. You are then entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

10. Do I have the option of choosing any doctor who will treat my injury?

Generally, injured workers have to be treated by a doctor within their employer’s Medical Provider Network, also known as an MPN. This is a group of physicians who have been approved by a workers’ compensation insurance company to provide treatment to injured employees. However, you can seek your own doctor if (1) the employer or insurance company does not provide information on the Medical Provider Network; or (2) an appropriate doctor within the network is not available within a reasonable distance of your home or work.

11. What happens if my place of work doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance? Do I have the right to take legal action if this is the case?

If your employer does not have workers’ compensation insurance, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits directly from the company. You may also be able to file a civil lawsuit. To file this type of claim, you must prove that your employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance at the time of your employment. If you file a claim in civil court, there is a presumption that the employer was at fault for your injury. If the employer is unable to pay for your benefits, the California Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund will pay for your benefits. 

An employer who does not have workers’ compensation insurance may be subject to a criminal charge as well as a penalty of up to double the amount of the premium (not less than $10,000). If you are entitled to permanent disability benefits in this situation, your benefits will be increased by 10%. Finally, the employer will be prohibited from hiring or retaining any employees until it obtains workers’ compensation insurance. 

12. Can my employer legally terminate me while out on disability?

It is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee or terminate them for having a workers’ compensation claim. Under California law, if your employer fires you, threatens to fire you, or otherwise discriminates against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can receive an additional $10,000 in benefits and back pay from the time that you are fired.

13. My physician has released me to moderate/light work, however, what if my employer refuses to comply? What happens then?

If your doctor releases you for light or moderate work, and your employer refuses to comply, then they may be in violation of the law. Only your physician can determine your ability to work. If your employer does not have work that fits the doctor’s restrictions, then you will receive temporary disability benefits.

14. What types of settlements are available and how do they differ?

There are types of settlements available for California workers’ compensation benefits:

  • Stipulations with Request for Award
  • Compromise and Release

While both settlements involve the worker being paid for their level of permanent disability, there are significant differences between the two. With a stipulation and award, the benefits are paid over a period of months or years. In contrast, a compromise and release involves an immediate lump sum payment of benefits.

In addition, with a stipulation and award, you are entitled to reopen your claim if your condition worsens within 5 years of the date of injury. This cannot be done with a compromise and release. A stipulation and award also allows you to continue working at the same employer. Many insurance companies will not agree to a compromise and release if an employee remains at the same company; this is due to the possibility that you may file a new claim for the same part of the body, requiring the insurance company to pay for the same medical care twice. Finally, with a stipulation and award, you receive ongoing medical treatment paid for by the insurance company. With a compromise and release, you no longer receive treatment through workers’ compensation.

15. Will an attorney charge me for the initial consultation?

A California workers’ compensation attorney will not likely charge you for an initial consultation. During this appointment, you can get information about the benefits available to you and the options for obtaining them.

16. What are some of the common mistakes that people make when filing a claim?

Making an error when filing a claim can cost you. Some of the more common mistakes that we see include:

  • Failing to file an accident report properly or on time
  • Filing a workers’ compensation claim late (more than 30 days after your injury)
  • Allowing your employer to choose your doctor
  • Failing to follow through with the recommended treatment
  • Not requesting a second opinion or appealing to a QME
  • Accepting an initial settlement offer without consulting an attorney
  • Not appealing denied medical care and treatment

17. Who actually pays the benefits? The state or private insurance company?

If your employer has workers’ compensation insurance, then the insurance company will pay for your benefits. However, if your employer is uninsured and unable to directly pay your benefits, then the CA Uninsured Employers Benefit Trust Fund will pay for your benefits.

18. If my employer accepts or assigns me to moderate work or alternative position, will my payments be lessened?

If your employer offers you an alternative position or modified duties, then you will be required to perform that work as long as it is within the restrictions imposed by your doctor. You will not receive temporary disability benefits if you return to work full-time in a moderate or alternative position, although you may still be eligible for other benefits, such as medical treatment and/or permanent disability benefits. Temporary partial disability benefits are available if you can only work part-time due to an injury. If you refuse to perform that work, then you will not receive any disability benefits for your lost wages. 

19. What happens if my employer doesn’t have any alternative or moderate work available? Are there other benefits available?

If an injured worker does not have any alternative or moderate work available, then you will receive temporary disability benefits. If you cannot return to work, then you may receive supplemental job displacement benefits. This is in the form of a $6,000 voucher that can be used for a variety of job-training and placement related items, such as computer equipment, licensing and examination fees, and placement and resume services. 

You may be eligible for these benefits if your employer does not have work that is not:

  • At least 85% of the salary of your prior position;
  • For a duration of at least 12 months; and
  • A reasonable commuting distance from your home.

20. By law, what types of injuries or illnesses are considered work-related? What are the limitations?

An injury or illness is considered work-related if it arose out of or in the course of employment. In other words, if an injury or illness happened when you are working, then you may be entitled to benefits. This includes psychiatric injuries, as well as injuries or illnesses that were partially caused or aggravated by work.

There are exceptions to this general rule, however. If your injury or illness was self-inflicted, from a fight that you started, caused by drug or alcohol intoxication, or if it happened while you committed a felony, then you are not eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

21. Can I sue a third-party that is not connected to my employer or place of employment that is responsible for my injury?

Yes. If a third party is responsible for your injury, then you may be able to file a civil lawsuit against them for your injuries. For example, if you were injured in a motor vehicle accident while working, then you could sue the third party for damages and also receive workers compensation benefits. A California workers’ compensation attorney who is also experienced in handling personal injury claims can counsel you on your options for filing this type of claim.

22. How do I know if I qualify for workers’ compensation benefits?

Generally, if your injury or illness arose out of your employment, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under California law. To get specific advice about whether you qualify for benefits as well as your options for obtaining those benefits, schedule a free initial consultation with a California workers’ compensation attorney.

23. If accepted, how will my compensation benefits be determined?

Your compensation benefits will be determined by the severity of your injury or illness, your ability to work, and the long-term impact of your injury or illness.

Temporary disability benefits are paid when you are not able to work due to a work-related injury or illness. You can receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wages in temporary benefits while you are unable to work, up to a maximum of 104 weeks. This amount of your benefits is based on a number of factors, including your work restrictions and weekly earnings. California has a schedule for the payment of temporary disability benefits. If you can work part-time, then you will receive temporary partial disability, which is calculated based on the wages that you are losing from not being able to work full-time.

Permanent disability benefits are paid when you have a permanent change in your medical condition due to your workplace injury or illness. These benefits are calculated based on your injury, job type, age, and change in your future earning capacity due to your injury. The permanent disability ratings schedule is used to set your benefit amount.

24. If I am concerned or questioning what I am owed, is it best to contact an attorney?

Yes. An experienced California workers’ compensation attorney can advise you on your right to workers’ compensation benefits, assist you in filing a claim, and appeal any unfavorable decisions. Workers who are represented by a lawyer typically receive more benefits compared to those who represent themselves.

25. Is it possible to receive state disability insurance (SDI) benefits as well as workers’ compensation benefits at the same time?

Typically, a worker cannot receive both workers’ compensation benefits and state disability benefits (SDI) at the same time.SDI benefits are paid when an injury or illness is not either caused by or related to work. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, you may receive SDI benefits if your workers’ compensation is delayed or denied. If the workers’ compensation weekly benefit amount is less than your weekly SDI amount, then you may be able to receive the difference. However, the state may then seek to recover the benefits paid if your workers’ compensation benefits are approved.

26. Can my employer take money out of our paychecks to help pay for workers’ compensation insurance?

No. Your employer is responsible for paying workers’ compensation premiums.

27. What is the turnaround time once I obtain the form to file my claim?

Once you receive the form to file your claim, you should complete and file it as soon as possible. Once it has been filed, the insurance company has 90 days to either accept or deny your claim. If the insurance company fails to act within that time frame, your claim is considered to be accepted.

28. Does the law differ for accidents that occur on a construction site? Can I take legal action against the property or property owners?

The law is the same for accidents that occur on construction sites. However, because of the nature of construction sites, there are often third parties present who may be held responsible for your injury. This may include the property or property owners, in some cases. In other situations, a subcontractor may have acted negligently, which caused your accident. A skilled California workers’ compensation attorney can help you determine who may be liable for your injury, and assist you with filing a workers’ compensation claim and/or a lawsuit.

29. Is more than just workers’ compensation available if injured while working on a construction site?

Depending on the facts of the case, you may be entitled to benefits beyond workers’ compensation. This occurs when a third party, such as an equipment manufacturer or a subcontractor on the site, causes your injuries. In some cases, someone entirely unaffiliated with the job site — such as a passing driver — may be responsible for your injuries. In these situations, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the third party and/or a workers’ compensation claim with your employer.

30. Who is responsible for ensuring the construction site I am working at is safe?

The general contractor is responsible for ensuring that the construction site that you are working at is safe. In addition, your employer is responsible for making sure that that the part of the site that you are working on is safe, and that you and your co-workers are working in a safe manner.

31. The investigation of my claim showed that my employer violated OSHA regulations. How will this support my case?

The California workers’ compensation system is no-fault, which means that you do not have to prove that your employer was responsible for your injuries in order to receive benefits. For this reason, proof of an OSHA violation will not support your workers’ compensation claim; you are entitled to benefits regardless of fault. However, if your employer engages in serious and willful misconduct — as may be demonstrated by an OSHA violation — then you may be entitled to an additional award for their conduct. Your employer is responsible for paying this penalty — not the insurance company.

32. Even if I am collecting workers’ compensation benefits, am I still allowed to file a lawsuit against the persons or entities that caused my injury?

Yes. If a third party (someone other than your employer) caused your injury, you can still file a lawsuit against them even if you are collecting workers’ compensation benefits. This may be advisable in some cases, as damages in a personal injury lawsuit may be significantly higher than what you can recover in a workers’ compensation claim. If you recover money in a lawsuit, you may be required to repay all or part of the benefits that you received from workers’ compensation.

33. I was a subcontractor at a construction site when my injury occurred. What are my legal rights? Can I file a lawsuit against the owner and general contractor?

Depending on the facts of the case, you may be able to file a lawsuit against a third party, including the owner and/or general contractor. Generally, you are limited to workers’ compensation benefits if you are hurt on the job. However, if your injury was caused by the negligence of someone other than your employer, you may be able to file a lawsuit against them. For example, if the general contractor failed to maintain the site in a safe manner, then it may be liable for your injuries.

34. What are some of the common accidents that occur on a construction site?

There are any number of accidents that may happen on a construction site. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the most frequent hazards and safety violations include:

  • Falls (from ladders, scaffolding, roofs, or another high place)
  • Falling debris
  • Electrocution
  • Explosions or burns
  • Slip and falls
  • Machinery accidents
  • Crushing accidents, including materials
  • Trench or ground collapses 
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Overexertion

35. What damages am I able to recover from a construction site-based injury claim?

If you file a lawsuit against a third party for injuries that you received on a construction site, you may be able to recover a range of damages. This may include:

  • Past and future medical treatment
  • Lost wages
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

A California attorney who handles both workers’ compensation and personal injury can help you determine what damages you may be able to recover through this type of lawsuit.

36. If my employer or supervisor doesn’t report the accident to the proper authorities, (e.g. OSHA) do I have the right to do so myself?

Yes. Employers are required to immediately report any workplace death or serious injury or illness to the proper authorities, such as Cal/OSHA. If they fail to do so, you can report the accident yourself through the Department of Industrial Relations’ website. Under federal law, all employees have the right to report workplace safety hazards and workplace injuries or illnesses.

37. What is the suggested protocol to take if I was injured on the construction site I was working at?

If you are injured on a construction site, you should follow the same protocol as you would for any other workers’ compensation claim. This includes notifying your employer of your injury, seeking medical treatment, filing a workers’ compensation claim, and consulting with a lawyer.

In situations where your injuries may have been caused by someone other than your employer, you may choose to take additional steps. This may include taking pictures of the scene, if possible, and gathering information about potential witnesses to your accident. Contact a California personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss the possibility of filing a lawsuit against the responsible party or parties.

38. How will the severity of an injury, type of work and/or location of an injury impact the benefits I may receive?

Permanent disability benefits are based in part on the severity of your injury, the type of work that you do, and/or the location of your injury. This is because these benefits are meant to replace income or wages that you lost as a result of your injury or illness. If you suffer a relatively minor injury that does not significantly impact your ability to work long-term, you will typically receive a lower level of compensation compared to someone whose injury was debilitating.

California uses a Permanent Disability Schedule to determine permanent disability benefits. You will receive benefits based on this schedule according to your injury, job type, age and the change in your future earning capacity due to your injury.

39. Regarding medical treatment, is my employer responsible to pay for it, regardless if I missed time off work?

Yes. The availability of medical treatment is not dependent on your ability to work. If your illness or injury arose from your work, you will be eligible for medical treatment. You will not receive temporary disability benefits if your injury or illness does not impair your ability to work.

40. Do I have to be a United States citizen in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits?

No. Under California law, all of the rights and remedies available to citizens are also available to workers who are undocumented. Workers who are not citizens can still receive medical treatment and permanent disability benefits. However, they may not receive temporary disability when modified work is available or supplemental job displacement benefits when permanent work is available. If an employer cannot offer modified or permanent work, then they must pay the benefits. If the inability to offer work is due to the employee’s immigration status, then these benefits will not be made available.

41. Are there medical treatment guidelines that are state-regulated?

Yes. Under the California Labor Code, all injured workers receive a standardized level of care. All medical treatment provided through the California workers’ compensation system is based on guidelines that determine the frequency, duration, and appropriateness of treatments that are frequently performed in workers’ compensation claims.  This is known as the Medical Treatment Utilization Schedule (MTUS). 

42. What happens if a treatment given by my physician doesn’t follow the MTUS guidelines?

As a general rule, recommendations in the MTUS guidelines are presumed to be correct. However, there are two situations where your physician may provide treatment outside of the guidelines. First, this may be done when your injury or condition is not addressed by the MTUS guidelines. Second, if your treating doctor disagrees with the recommendations of an MTUS medical treatment guideline, they may rebut the presumption of correctness. If your physician can demonstrate by a “preponderance of medical evidence” that the treatment is medically necessary, then coverage for the treatment will be allowed.

43. What are Temporary Disability benefits?

Temporary disability benefits are payments for lost wages due to a work-related injury or illness. It is intended to be a substitute for lost wages. To be eligible for these benefits, a doctor must state that you either cannot work due to your injury or that your ability to work is limited due to your injury. If your employer cannot offer modified or light duty work for you, then you are entitled to temporary disability benefits.

44. How are Temporary Disability (TD) benefits calculated and when do they start and stop?

Temporary disability (TD) benefits are calculated based on your average weekly wage. You can receive up to two-thirds of your average weekly wage for a maximum of 104 weeks. There is a minimum and maximum amount of temporary disability benefits that you can receive. If you are able to work part-time, then you can receive partial temporary disability benefits. This amount is based on the number of hours that you are unable to work each week.

TD benefit payments should start within 14 days of when the insurance companies receive a medical report stating that you are either unable to work or that your work is limited based on your injury or illness. These payments are made every 2 weeks and will end when you return to work, a doctor states that you can return to work, or when your condition stabilizes and you become eligible for permanent disability benefits.

45. Are there other benefits available while collecting TD?

While you are collecting TD benefits, you will also be eligible for medical treatment benefits. You may also be able to collect supplemental job displacement benefits if you are unable to return to work. You cannot receive permanent disability benefits while receiving TD benefits.

46. Is there a way I can find out if my employer has workers’ compensation insurance?

Yes. You can search online to determine if your employer has workers’ compensation insurance using the Workers’ Compensation Coverage Inquiry tool. This is made available through the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau of California. Significantly, the tool does not contain information about employers who are self-insured or who are not legally obligated to maintain workers’ compensation insurance.

47. What are the benefits of hiring an attorney for my case?

While you can handle your workers’ compensation on your own, there are a number of advantages to working with a lawyer. First, having a California workers’ compensation attorney will level the playing field. The insurance company has a team of lawyers to represent it; these attorneys will work to find reasons to deny or delay your claim. Your lawyer can help prepare your workers’ compensation claim and help you get the benefits that you deserve.

Second, your workers’ comp lawyer can help you find an appropriate doctor, which will help support your case. Within your network, there may be better physicians to see who will evaluate your injuries and document them in a way that helps your case. 

Third, an attorney can help make sure that you get the maximum level of benefits that you are entitled to under the law. Without a lawyer, you may be bullied into returning to work sooner or accepting a settlement that leaves you without the benefits that you need. A California workers’ compensation attorney will use their experience and knowledge of the law to advocate for you to receive the maximum amount of benefits under the law.

48. How are the attorney fees processed regarding my workers’ compensation case? Is it required that they are paid upfront?

In California, your attorney will generally be paid on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will receive a percentage of certain benefits that you are awarded during the process. Typically, these fees are based on a percentage of a settlement, a permanent disability award, or a death benefit. A lawyer does not get a percentage of medical treatment or temporary total disability benefits unless they had to fight for you to receive these benefits. These fees are not paid upfront. Instead, the attorney will receive these fees after your case is complete. 

49. What is the difference between a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim?

There are a number of important differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. As an initial matter, personal injury cases are based on a theory of negligence. In order to recover, you must prove that the other side was negligent in some way and that their negligence caused your injuries. In contrast, workers’ compensation cases are no-fault. This means that you are not required to prove that your employer did something wrong in order to recover.

Benefits for workers’ compensation claims are limited by law. There is no limit to the damages that you can receive in a personal injury case. In most situations, if your injury or illness arose out of your work, you will be limited to filing a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are some situations — such as an intentional injury — where you may be able to file a lawsuit directly against your employer for a work-related accident.

50. Is it possible to file both a personal injury claim and workers’ compensation simultaneously?

Yes. If you were hurt at work because of something that a third party did or failed to do, you can file both a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim. Your employer is required to provide workers’ compensation benefits for injuries that arose from your work. This means that you are entitled to benefits for your workplace injury, even if it was caused by a third party (such as a driver hitting you while you were performing your work duties). You can also file a personal injury lawsuit against whoever was responsible for your injury. If you obtain an award or settlement for this lawsuit, then you will likely be required to repay any workers’ compensation benefits that you received out of the proceeds of the lawsuit.

51. If my accident was caused by a third-party, what will I be entitled to recover?

If a third party (anyone other than your employer) causes your accident, then you can likely file a lawsuit against that person or entity. You may be able to recover a range of damages, including past and future medical expenses, lost wages, reduced earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.

52. What are the reasons if a workers’ compensation insurance provider waives the requirements stated in the Labor Code section 5313?

Labor Code Section 5313 requires the appeals board or the workers’ compensation judge to issue an order, award or decision within 30 days after a case is submitted. The requirements of this section are usually waived when the parties have reached an agreement and there is no need for the board or judge to hold a hearing and/or issue a decision.

53. What is a workers’ compensation deposition?

A deposition is a legal procedure that involves taking the testimony of a party or witness to the case. The testimony is under oath and occurs outside of the courtroom. It is often used by an insurance company to learn more about a worker’s injury. In many workers’ compensation cases, the injured worker is the only person who is deposed, although a treating physician may also be deposed. During a deposition, the attorney for the workers compensation insurance company asks a series of questions to learn about the claim and obtain specific information about the accident. If you have an attorney, they will also be present at the deposition.

54. What do they ask at a deposition?

The insurance company’s lawyer will ask a range of questions during a deposition. This may include questions about:

  • Your work history
  • Your medical history, including prior work-related accidents
  • Basic information about you
  • The details of the injury
  • How the injury happened
  • The treatment that you received after the injury
  • Current medical complaints
  • Treatment that you have received since the injury
  • Your job duties and tasks
  • Your employment status

These questions are typically designed to minimize or deny your claim. For that reason, it is important to work with your California workers’ compensation attorney to prepare for a deposition.

55. What are the ground rules regarding a workers’ compensation deposition?

The rules for a workers’ compensation deposition are the same for those taken in civil lawsuits. In addition, an insurance company can only take one deposition of an injured worker. Before they can do so, the insurance company must file a document known as an Application for Adjudication of Claim. From there, the insurance company will send an injured worker a notice of deposition. 

If an injured worker refuses to attend a deposition, then their claim may be suspended. If an injured worker refuses to answer a question, then the insurance company’s lawyer may ask the judge to compel you to answer.  The questions are only limited by whether they can “reasonably assist a party in evaluating its case, preparing for trial, or facilitating a settlement.”

The only people that can be present at a workers’ compensation deposition are the injured worker, the court reporter, an employer representative, and attorneys for each side. If an injured worker would be subject to unwarranted annoyance, embarrassment, or oppression, they may seek to exclude the employer representative. Your California workers’ compensation attorney can also take depositions using the same procedures.