It is your responsibility to file all paperwork correctly. You can obtain forms from your employer or an attorney. If your employer has knowledge of the injury that has the same effect of filing a claim. But this is sometimes hard to prove so it is better to file using a DWC form 1 and keep a copy for yourself. It is also advisable to seek legal advice in all cases as a precautionary measure. The employer, and/or their insurance company, typically has unlimited resources to hire lawyers to defend every case.
In cases where an injury causes time lost from work, you should definitely seek legal representation to protect your rights. Your employer is obligated to refrain from discriminating against you for having a work injury. Your employer, or the insurance company if the employer is not self-insured, must pay for your medical treatment, including prescriptions and mileage to and from the doctor’s office, and any other medical treatment or device designed to improve your condition. The employer (or carrier) must also pay Temporary Disability (TD) according to a statutory schedule to compensate you for time lost from work due to the injury. Also, it must pay for Vocational Rehabilitation if your doctor determines you will be unable to return to your work permanently. Depending on the seriousness of your injury, it may have to pay Permanent Disability. There are significant penalties that are sometimes available against the employer and insurance company for delay or other misconduct. It is usually advisable to also file an EDD claim for disability if you are eligible for that concurrently. You are not entitled to both temporary disability (2/3 of your wages) and state disability. However, by filing it, you are preserving your right to rely on it later if necessary.