Workers' Compensation in California: Questions & Answers
The Basics About Medical Care
for Injured Workers
What should I do if I get hurt at work or develop a work-related medical
C Report the injury or illness to your employer. Make sure your supervisor or someone
else in management knows as soon as possible. Reporting promptly helps avoid problems
and delays in receiving benefits, including medical care. It's illegal for your employer to
punish or fire you for having a job injury or requesting workers' compensation benefits.
C Get emergency treatment if needed. If it's an emergency, call 911 or go to an
emergency room right away. Your employer may tell you where to go for treatment. Tell
the medical staff that your injury or illness is job-related.
C Fill out a claim form and give it to your employer. Your employer must give or mail
you a Workers' Compensation Claim Form (DWC 1) within one working day after
learning about your injury or illness.
Where can I get non-emergency medical care for my injury or illness?
If you "predesignated" your personal physician, you may see that doctor right away. This
means you gave your employer the name and address of your personal physician in writing
before you were injured. Note: If your employer does not offer a group health plan or group
health insurance for medical conditions that are unrelated to work, you do not have a right to
If you did not or could not predesignate your personal physician, the claims administrator will
tell you where to go for treatment. (The claims administrator is the person who handles
workers' compensation claims for your employer.)
The claims administrator must authorize medical treatment within one working day after you
return the claim form to your employer, and must pay for all necessary medical services for
your injury or illness.
What can I do to recover as fully as possible?
You should be seen by a doctor who knows how to treat your injury or illness under medical
treatment guidelines that are used in California, an