If you get hurt at work, you may not be able to file a civil personal injury lawsuit like you can when you are hurt in any other situation. Instead, you may be restricted to filing a workers’ compensation case.
A workers’ compensation claim can, in some ways, provide broader protection to injured victims. However, you will not get the same amount of compensation or the same level of benefits from workers’ comp as you would if you were able to file a civil case.
Because you could be deprived of compensation for some losses if your injury falls strictly under workers’ comp, you need to determine if it is possible to file a civil lawsuit for personal injury or wrongful death against someone other than your employer.
Will Your Injury Be Strictly a Workers’ Compensation Case?
Division of Workers’ Compensation Title 8 Regulations explain the workers’ compensation system in the state of California. Essentially, whenever you suffer an injury from an accident on the job, you cannot sue your employer but must instead make a workers’ comp claim. This is true if your injury happens suddenly or develops overtime from overexertion or repetitive motion.
Your injury is considered a workers’ comp case whenever your work duties were the cause of harm, or when your employer is to blame. If you get hurt off your normal work site while performing work tasks, your injury is still going to be a workers’ comp claim.
The good news is, you can make a workers’ compensation claim for any workplace injuries, even if your employer was not negligent. The bad news is, California law establishes workers’ compensation as an exclusive remedy system. That means you can’t sue your employer for a work injury except in very rare cases where your employer acted intentionally to hurt you. Even if your employer was careless, violated OSHA, or made unnecessary and dangerous mistakes, you can’t sue. You’ll be restricted to getting workers’ comp benefits.
Workers’ compensation will cover your medical bills and entitle you to disability benefits. Workers’ compensation will not pay you for your pain and suffering or emotional distress and it will not compensate your loved ones for loss of companionship if you die as a result of your injuries. If, however, the negligence of someone other than your employer caused your work related injury, you can file a third party personal injury claim and receive compensation for anything workers’ comp does not cover.
When Is Your Injury Not Just a Workers’ Compensation Case?
There are situations, where a workplace injury can lead to a third party lawsuit. This means that while you can’t sue your employer, you can sue someone else. You could potentially sue:
- Someone who hit you with his car while you were doing work duties, like driving for work or working on a construction site.
- The manufacturer of tools or machinery you used on your worksite, if the tools or machinery malfunctioned.
- A non-employer project manager who was negligent and who caused you to get hurt.
These are just a few examples of when you could possibly file a civil lawsuit for an injury on-the-job.
Get Help from a Long Beach Injury Lawyer
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
At the Law office of Michael D. Waks, I can carefully review the circumstances of your injury to determine if you have to make a workers’ compensation claim or if you can file a civil lawsuit. Give me a call today so I can help you to maximize the compensation and benefits you receive after an on-the-job injury.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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