As a California firefighter, your work often puts you in life-threatening situations.
As a result, you are at an increased risk for injury.
Whether it’s fighting off one of California’s major brush fires, saving someone from a burning building, or simply participating in a dangerous required training exercise, you make a tremendous sacrifice and risk your own safety to protect us.
Thankfully California’s workers’ comp laws state that all part-time, full-time, apprentice, and volunteer firefighters have specific protections and compensation benefits that will cover medical expenses, lost wages, disabilities, and offer death benefits for your family should you get injured, become sick, or die because of your service as a California firefighter.
For California firefighters, workers’ comp will cover just about any injury or illness related to your service, from smoke inhalation and burns to long-term diseases, including heart conditions and lung cancer.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim in California
If you’ve been injured or have fallen ill because of your firefighter service, you can pursue workers’ compensation benefits by following these steps:
1. Consult a physician.
Any firefighter who is injured or becomes ill on the job should seek a complete medical evaluation immediately. Be sure that the attending physician knows that the injuries you suffered resulted from your employment. Request that they give you your own copy of any medical reports associated with your visit.
2. Inform your employer.
Your employer should be notified about your injury or illness immediately. In cases where the condition has developed over time, you should inform them once the situation requires you to be out from work or when you have seen a doctor regarding your condition.
3. Complete a DWC-1.
A DWC-1 is a general California workers’ compensation claim form. It will ask you to provide basic personal information as well as a detailed description of the injury or sickness. You must thoroughly fill out this form, carefully covering every injury. You could be denied treatment coverage if an injury or illness is not included in this form. Once this form is complete, it is filed with the employer.
4. Complete a WCAB Form 1
WCAB Form 1 is an Adjudication of Claim application, which should be filed with California’s Workers’ Comp Appeals Board within a year of the accident. This form requires that you provide your employer’s workers’ comp insurance information, which you’ll find on the DWC-1 form copy from your employer. You can also access that information through California’s Workers’ Comp Appeals Board.
5. Complete a Declaration Form under California Labor Code 4906 (g)
This form declares that neither you nor the physician who examined you has submitted fraudulent information as part of your California workers’ comp claim.
6. Include the required cover sheet along with document separators.
Be sure to place document separators after every item in the application packet with a DWC cover sheet at the top. All forms and directions can be obtained through the California DWC website.
As soon as your workers’ comp claim packet has been submitted, it should take about two weeks to get a response from the employer’s insurance provider. This response will either include temporary disability benefits, a denial, or a notice of further investigation into your claim.
Any insurer failing to respond in this period may be required to pay a 10% penalty fee related to any late payments owed to you.
Consider Hiring a Workers’ Compensation Attorney
The California workers’ compensation claims process can be challenging. Let the experienced workers’ compensation attorneys from Aoudi Law help. Our team has the experience necessary to ensure firefighters who have been injured on the job get the compensation they deserve.
The workers’ compensation attorneys at Aoudi Law have helped countless California firefighters whose workers’ compensation claims were denied by insurance companies and claims managers. The professional staff at Aoudi Law are experts in California workers’ compensation law.
Call or text 714-769-8706 today for a free consultation.