If you have been injured at work, you should know that a workers’ compensation claim may not be your only recovery option. Employees often assume that workers’ comp benefits are the exclusive remedy for work injury claims, but under some circumstances, employers or third parties may be responsible for an employee’s injuries and damages outside of workers’ compensation benefits.
The San Diego personal injury attorneys at CaseyGerry know that recovery options under workers’ compensation benefits are limited, and we want our clients to receive maximum compensation for their losses. If you have been injured on the job, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation. We will go over your case and discuss your legal options.
After a workplace accident, there are a variety of reasons that an employer or their insurance company will outright refuse to pay your workers’ comp benefits. An attorney will be your advocate in negotiations to make sure you are not taken advantage of, and that you receive the benefits you are entitled to.
If you have a permanent disability because of your work injury, your employer or their insurer may offer to settle your claim with a lump sum. However, insurance companies are notorious for short-changing injured workers when they offer settlements.
The initial offer will likely not be enough to cover the full cost of your medical care and lost wages, in effect, hurting your ability to recover properly. A workplace accident attorney can review your case and the settlement offer, to then advise you on the average amount of compensation an injured worker might recover in a case like yours.
A San Diego work injury attorney will also explore other options for obtaining compensation, such as a third-party claim. These types of lawsuits after a work injury are separate from workers’ compensation claims.
When a third party, unaffiliated with your employer, is at fault for your accident, you may file a personal injury claim for compensation. This is true even if you were working at the time of the accident. Common types of third-party work injury claims include the following:
There are several scenarios where your employer could be liable for your work injuries. For example, employers are responsible for employee injuries if they violate the law and fail to get workers’ compensation coverage for their employees. Employers can also be held accountable for serious and willful misconduct that results in an employee’s injury, such as physically assaulting an employee.
Other cases of serious and willful misconduct are not as easy to prove as intentional conduct. To demonstrate serious and willful misconduct, plaintiffs must be able to show that their employer subjected them to a hazard or danger that was likely to cause the employee to suffer serious injuries. Evidence of a workplace safety violation is often used to show an employer’s serious and willful misconduct.
Asbestos exposure and mesothelioma injuries are frequently blamed on employers. Plaintiffs in these cases offer evidence to show that their employer knew that employees were being exposed to dangerous asbestos but let them continue to work in a hazardous environment without disclosing the presence of asbestos.
To prove a personal injury case, you must be able to show that the defendant was at fault for the accident. Your San Diego workplace accident attorney will begin the legal process with an investigative and discovery phase to gather evidence that proves the defendant’s fault and the extent of your injuries. To prove fault, most personal injury claims allege that the defendant’s negligence caused the accident and resulting injuries.
Evidence used to prove personal injury claims may include photographs, accident videos, witness statements, police reports, and anything else that demonstrates the defendant’s negligence. Additionally, medical bills, medical records, injury evaluations, and medical expert testimony may be used to prove the extent of your injuries and how those injuries will continue to impact you in the future.
The attorneys at CaseyGerry have a proud history of helping clients who have sustained a wide range of workplace injuries. This includes:
This is certainly not a complete list of the types of cases that we handle, and we encourage you to reach out to our attorney so we can determine the best steps moving forward for your work injury claim.
Every injury case is unique, and the value of your claim depends on the circumstances of your accident, the extent of your injuries, and the impact your injuries will have on your future health and well-being. Available compensation may include medical expenses and lost wages related to your injuries. If your injuries are long-term or permanent, you may also be entitled to future medical expenses and loss of earning capacity.
In some cases, you may also collect non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of consortium. When the defendant’s conduct that caused your accident amounts to malice, oppression, or fraud, punitive damages may also be awarded. In California, punitive damages are a means to punish defendants for their egregious conduct and to deter participation in similar conduct in the future. When injuries are fatal, compensation may be available to the estate and close surviving family members under a wrongful death claim and survival action.
Data available from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicates that there were 2.7 million non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses that occurred across the country in 2020, which represented a 5.7% decrease from the previous year. Workplace injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways, and some of the most common causes include:
Payments under workers’ compensation laws in California include:
You are entitled to these benefits under California law regardless of who was at fault for the injury or why it happened. However, it must be reported to your employer within 30 days, and you have one year to officially file a workers’ compensation claim.
The major downside is that the benefits only cover a portion of your lost wages. Disability benefits typically pay for two-thirds of your average weekly wages, and the maximum weekly benefit amount is $1,300.
Employers in San Diego and throughout California are required by law to provide no-fault insurance against workplace injuries and illnesses. In return, injured cannot file lawsuits against their employers when they get hurt or sick while on the job.
Failing to have workers’ compensation insurance is a criminal offense in California. It is also against the law for an employer to require employees to pay for or offset the cost of the policy, and they cannot punish or fire an employee for filing a workers’ compensation claim.
The California Division of Workers’ Compensation oversees the administration of claims. They also run the workers’ compensation court system that resolves disputes over benefits.
Even though nobody wants to sustain an on-the-job injury, there is good news for those who do. The California workers’ compensation system is considered a “no-fault” type of insurance. This means that individuals who sustain workplace injuries typically do not have to prove the negligence of another party involved. It does not matter who caused the workplace injury; an injured worker should be able to recover compensation for their medical bills, a portion of their lost wages, and some disability benefits if needed.
The workers’ compensation system does typically prevent individuals from filing personal injury lawsuits against their employer, and this also means that they are unable to recover compensation for various types of non-economic damages such as pain and suffering losses.
Workers’ compensation claims differ from typical personal injury cases where an individual has to prove that another party was negligent before they can receive compensation. However, there are times when injuries occur as a result of third parties aside from an employer or a coworker. In these cases, individuals may be able to file third-party personal injury lawsuits, which will enable them to recover additional types of compensation above and beyond what they would otherwise be able to receive. Some of the most common third parties that face lawsuits in work injury cases include product manufacturers and property owners.
Those who are injured in accidents caused by someone else’s fault typically recover more compensation when they have an attorney advocating for their financial recovery. Contact the attorneys at (619) 679-9972 to arrange a free consultation. We will go over the facts of your accident, evaluate the strength of your claim, and discuss your legal options.