When Does Workers’ Comp Start Paying in California?

Workers’ compensation benefits are crucial for employees who suffer injuries or illnesses in the workplace. In California, understanding the intricacies of when and how workers’ compensation payments begin is essential for both employers and employees. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the specifics of when workers’ comp starts paying in California, providing you with accurate and reliable information.

When Does Workers’ Comp Start Paying in California?

Workers’ compensation benefits in California typically begin shortly after an employee reports a work-related injury or illness to their employer. Once the employer is aware of the incident, they are required by law to provide the injured worker with a workers’ compensation claim form (DWC 1) to initiate the claims process. The employer must then submit the completed form to their workers’ compensation insurance carrier.

1. Processing Time

After receiving the claim, the insurance carrier will conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the claim. This process usually takes a few weeks. During this period, the injured employee may be eligible to receive up to $10,000 in medical and disability benefits, regardless of whether the claim has been approved yet.

2. Approval of the Claim

Once the claim is approved, the injured employee will start receiving workers’ compensation payments. These payments typically cover medical expenses, temporary disability benefits, permanent disability benefits, vocational rehabilitation, and death benefits in case of a fatal workplace injury.


  1. California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR): The official website of the California DIR provides comprehensive information about workers’ compensation laws, regulations, and procedures in the state. California DIR – Workers’ Compensation
  2. State of California – Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) – Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC): This is the specific division of the California DIR dedicated to workers’ compensation. Their website offers in-depth resources, forms, and guides related to workers’ comp in California. California DWC
  3. State of California Employment Development Department (EDD): EDD provides information about employment-related benefits, including disability insurance, which is closely related to workers’ compensation in California. California EDD
  4. Official California Legislative Information: This website provides access to the full text of California laws, including those related to workers’ compensation. It’s a reliable source for legal references. California Legislative Information
  5. California Workers’ Compensation Institute (CWCI): CWCI is a non-profit organization that conducts research on workers’ compensation issues in California. Their publications and studies can provide valuable insights. California Workers’ Compensation Institute

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What types of injuries are covered by workers’ compensation in California?

A1: Workers’ compensation in California covers a wide range of injuries, including physical injuries, occupational diseases, repetitive stress injuries, and mental health conditions arising from work-related factors.

Q2: Can I choose my own doctor for workers’ compensation treatment?

A2: In California, the initial choice of the treating physician may be made by the employer. However, after 30 days, the injured worker can select their own doctor for treatment.

Q3: Is there a time limit for filing a workers’ compensation claim in California?

A3: Yes, there is a statute of limitations for filing a workers’ compensation claim in California. Generally, an injured employee has one year from the date of the injury to file a claim. It’s crucial to report the injury and file the claim as soon as possible to avoid potential complications.

Final Thoughts

Understanding, when workers’ comp starts paying in California, is essential for both employers and employees. Timely reporting of work-related injuries, proper completion of claim forms, and compliance with medical treatments are vital steps in ensuring that injured workers receive the compensation and benefits they deserve. If you need further assistance or have specific questions about your case, consulting with California’s workers’ compensation attorney can provide valuable guidance tailored to your situation.

By staying informed about the process and your rights, you can navigate the California workers’ compensation system effectively and secure the support you need during challenging times.

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