You have some degree of risk at getting hurt on the job no matter what you do. If you are injured at work or while performing work-related activities, a San Diego work injury lawyer can explain your legal rights. If you believe that workers’ compensation may be your only option for recovery, you may be right. Your injury may also fall into the category of exceptions that allows you to take legal action against the responsible party.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ Comp is a type of insurance that employers pay into for their employees. In California, every employer must provide workers’ compensation benefits if they have one or more employees. This insurance was designed to protect employers and employees when accidents on the worksite lead to injuries. The employee receives benefits for qualifying injuries and the employer is guaranteed protection against lawsuits. This “compensation bargain” does not require proof of fault.
Exceptions to the Rule
Like most rules, there are some exceptions to that of exclusive remedy. The law considers injuries differently according to the circumstances at the time they occur. A San Diego workplace injury lawyer can help you understand the complexities of liability under CA law. These include:
- Wrongful Termination – In California, the law prohibits employers from penalizing their employers who have been injured at work or who have made a workers’ compensation claim. An employee who has been wrongfully terminated because of their injury may be able to obtain compensation. These issues can be very challenging since California is an “At Will” state. This generally gives the employer the right to fire any employee at any time. Again, there are exceptions and firing someone because of their injury or workers’ comp claim is one of them.
- Third Party Negligence – This exception is to those injuries that are not caused by either the employee or the employer, but to a third party. This might be someone who manufactured the tools the employee was using or the safety equipment provided to protect them. The person who is injured due to the negligence of a third party has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.
- Discrimination – Claims of discrimination based on race, gender, disability, religion, and national origin extend beyond the limitations of workers’ compensation.
- Fraudulent Concealment – If the employer keeps the injured employee’s injuries concealed and they become more severe as a result, the employee has the right to sue the employer. In many cases, these situations arise from an employee’s exposure to hazardous substances.
- Uninsured Employer – It is the employer’s legal duty to obtain workers’ compensation for every employee. If he fails to do so, he forfeits the protection from law suit afforded by the coverage and the employee can sue.
- Intentional Injury – If the workplace injury was the result of a willful act and not an accident, the injured employee has the right to sue.
How To Prove Liability in a Work Injury Case
The biggest challenge in any case is the burden of proving liability. Legal liability is defined as “the legal responsibility for a person’s acts or omissions.” It is difficult for an employee to assess whether an accident resulted because of another person’s negligence or their actions. No employee knows the full extent of their employer’s legal obligations.
Our San Diego work injury attorneys understand the challenges of navigating the laws related to workers’ comp and to personal injury. The line that separates the cases that are outside the perimeters of the compensation bargain is one that they have had to cross every day. A skilled San Diego workers comp lawyer or workers compensation attorney knows which cases are open to legal pursuit and those that are bound to the limits of workers’ comp. They can help you understand your case and what steps you need to take next.
California Workplace Injury Laws
California’s Shared Fault Law can also come into play if an exclusion to the exclusive remedy applies. If an employer claims that you are partially or totally to blame for your injuries, it won’t make a difference with regards to worker’s comp claims. You will still receive compensation even if you failed to perform your job correctly and contributed to your injury.
However, if you file a personal injury claim, shared fault will make a difference. If you are at least partially at fault, it will reduce your benefits. It all comes down to providing who is liable and to what degree.
Even cases where injuries resulted from intentional, self-inflicted acts may be the fault of the company. If stress or an injury that is work related leads to the self-inflicted injury, you may still be eligible. Again, the challenge is in proving that it was the stress or injury that caused you to hurt yourself.
If you were intoxicated or in violation of a company safety policy at the time of the injury, you probably won’t receive benefits. The only exception will be if you are able to prove that your condition or your act did not cause you to get injured. In other words, you must be able to prove that the injury would have happened anyway.
How Can a San Diego Work Injury Attorney Help?
In California, you have one year from the date of your work-related injury to file a worker’s compensation claim. It is always a good idea to see a work injury attorney before you file the claim. Make an appointment in time to complete the form and submit it within the first thirty days after your accident.
A San Diego work injury lawyer can determine if workers’ comp injury is your only resource for recovery. They can also determine if your case falls outside the limitations of workers’ comp and you have the right to legal pursuit. A knowledgeable work injury attorney can also help you get benefits, even after you have a denied claim.
When a work-related accident happens to you, contact the experienced San Diego workplace injury attorneys and denied workers compensation claim lawyers at our law firm. Our WC lawyers, construction accident lawyers and work comp attorneys accept both accepted and denied workers’ compensation cases. Let us help you get the compensation you need for your injuries.
San Diego Workplace Injury Lawyers
Some of the locations in San Diego County our workplace injury lawyers serve include: Chula Vista, Oceanside, Carlsbad, Coronado, Escondido, El Cajon, Poway, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Marcos, La Mesa, Vista, National City, Julian, Santee, Imperial Beach, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, Solana Beach, Fallbrook, Bonita, Lakeside and more.