Suffering a workplace injury or illness can put a serious dent in your savings. You expect that, as an employee, your workers’ compensation will cover some or all of your medical expenses. However, workers’ comp investigations can take up to 90 days, and any further delays might leave you no choice but to reorganize your finances or take out a loan.
Penalties for delaying workers’ comp payments
Employees should report an injury or illness to their employer within 30 days. Delaying to report may invalidate your claim. After you submit a claim, the insurance company will have 90 days from the date of injury to investigate.
If 90 days have passed and you have not received a delay letter, your claim may be accepted automatically. Depending on the circumstances, your workers’ compensation insurer may have to pay you a penalty for delaying your claim.
California’s Labor Code considers a payment late if it is not made within 14 days of the start of the payments and no other payments are made every two weeks after. The insurance company must then pay you an additional 10% of the amount they owe you.
If your workers’ compensation payments are unreasonably delayed or withheld, the insurer may face a higher extra penalty of up to 25%. To collect this additional 25%, you must notify the insurance company and claim a penalty. Otherwise, you may only be able to collect the overdue amount plus a 10% penalty.
To avoid fines, insurance companies may choose not to inform you when they are making late payments. Therefore, employees like you need to be aware of your rights when it comes to late workers’ compensation payments.
Understandably, fighting for your benefits can be stressful when you are struggling with a severe injury or illness. You may consider hiring an experienced workers’ compensation attorney rather than going through this situation alone.