You're not alone -- many people worry about retaliation after filing a workers' compensation claim. Employers may not fire you for filing a claim. The workers' compensation system was set up to help people like you who are injured on the job. You should file a claim and get the benefits you're entitled to. Consider hiring an attorney to walk you through the process and be there in case you run into resistance along the way. An experienced workers' compensation attorney who is dedicated to helping injured workers will help you make sure you're getting full benefits. The deadline in California is one year from the date of injury, but consult with a local work injury attorney before deciding it's too late. Initial consultations should be free. I know a good workers' comp attorney in your area if you'd like a referral. Feel free to call me at 1-800-807-9530.
The longer you wait, the harder it is so i recommend you file right away. There is a statute of limitations (time limit) but that is complicated and too difficult to answer here.
There is a section of the Labor Code which prohibits your employer from punishing you for getting hurt, hiring an attorney or seeking your benefits. If it is a legitimate claim, most employers don't have a problem with it.
You may want to consult with a worker' comp attorney in the Santa Rosa area. There are some good ones. Find a good one here at www.avvo.com or at www.caaa.org. CAAA is the association for attorneys who represent injured workers here in California. Or you can call me for a referral.