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Do shutdowns make benefits for injured workers obsolete?

Most employees probably don’t anticipate personal harm when they clock into their job each day. Yet, workplace injuries affect every industry nationwide.

Some positions carry more inherent risk than others, yet there is always the chance that you could get injured and need to rely on workers’ compensation while you recover. However, with mandated shutdowns related to the pandemic, how are you supposed to handle a claim?

5 things you should know about filing for workers’ compensation during the pandemic

Along with countless other organizations, the California Department of Workers’ Compensation (DWC) made service changes in response to the coronavirus. Meanwhile, you may have been required to continue your job-related duties as usual.

Considering potential confusion about how the DWC is currently handling benefits, you may want to be aware of some changes that could factor into filing a claim for an on-the-job injury. For example:

  • You can make a request, provide documentation or file a claim through specified electronic systems and the mail. However, walk-in services are not an option at this time.
  • An electronic signature is acceptable on petitions, settlements, motions and applications filed in the Electronic Adjudication Management System (EAMS).
  • There is a call center available for injured workers who require help with filing a claim.
  • Employees of the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB) continue to work remotely. Therefore, the Commissioners’ office is not providing in-person services.
  • Judges are hearing conferences, hearings and trials via telephone conferences.

Despite changes designed to protect public health, you may still qualify for workers’ compensation.

Without walk-in appointments available, the process of qualifying for benefits may be a bit more complex than usual. However, you neither need to suffer due to negligence in the workplace nor because of emergency orders.