When you are injured in the workplace, it’s important to know your rights and assert them in a timely manner. Your first recourse is workers’ compensation, but your circumstances might also allow you to pursue a negligence lawsuit and recover full compensation. Since 1993, the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C. has helped clients obtain the full range of benefits and compensation they’re entitled to. Our knowledgeable attorneys evaluate your case for free and work aggressively towards the best possible outcome.Common Workplace Accidents in California
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the most common causes of workplace injuries in 2016 were:
- Falls, slips, or trips
- Impact of equipment or another object
- Bodily reaction (as in stopping oneself from falling after a slip)
OSHA rates construction as the deadliest occupation, and cites the leading causes of fatal injuries as:
- Impact of an object
- “Caught-in/between” (a category that includes being crushed by equipment or collapsing structures)
However, workers also suffer disabling injuries from repetitive stress or exposure to toxic substances. Workers’ compensation covers all such injuries, provided they occur in the course of employment.Filing for Workers’ Compensation in California
When you are hurt on the job, you should immediately notify your supervisor and get medical treatment. Workers’ compensation pays for emergency room visits as well as all reasonable and necessary medical treatment for a work-related injury. You must file a workers’ compensation claim within a reasonable time after your injury.
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault insurance program: you do not have to prove anyone was negligent to get coverage, and you are covered even if your own negligence caused the injury. However, employers and insurers often attempt to deny coverage on various grounds, such as:
- Alleging the injury was not work-related — Injuries must occur “in the course of employment” and “arise out of employment.” In other words, you have to be injured while you are engaged in some activity that benefits your employer. You could also be disqualified if you were engaged in horseplay, were intoxicated, or intentionally harmed yourself.
- Alleging the worker is not eligible for workers’ comp — Worker’s comp is for employees; if you are an independent contractor, you are not covered. However, employers often misclassify workers to avoid coverage, so even if your boss says you’re a contractor, you might qualify as an employee based on your job description.
If you encounter problems with your claim, you should retain an experienced workers’ comp attorney as quickly as possible. Remember, it is your legal right to file a claim. An employer cannot punish you in any way, let alone fire you, for asserting your rights.When Can a Worker Sue for a Workplace Accident?
This is an important question, because workers’ compensation only pays for partial wage replacement and does not compensate at all for pain and suffering. To obtain full compensation for your economic and noneconomic losses, you must file a personal injury lawsuit against the person who harmed you.
Unfortunately, in most cases workers’ compensation law protects your employer and your coworkers. However, if a third party who is not your boss or coworker acted carelessly causing you harm, you can sue for negligence. Third-party liability cases often arise on construction sites, where employees of different subcontractors often work in close proximity, and one worker’s mistake injuries another. Also, if you were injured by an unreasonably dangerous tool or machine, you could sue the manufacturer under a theory of products liability.Speak to Our Personal Injury Attorneys Today About Your Case
If you’ve been injured at work, you need to know your rights. Take advantage of a free consultation and case evaluation with an experienced injury attorney. Call the Law Offices of John E. Hill, P.C. today at (510) 588-1000, or contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Oakland, we represent clients throughout Northern California. Hablamos español.