Injury in the Workplace: Can I File a Lawsuit Against My Employer?
If you are employed in the State of California, it is likely that recovery for any workplace injuries are limited to the workers’ compensation system. This means that, in most circumstances, you will not be able to file a lawsuit against your employer in a California court.
As an employee in California, it is important to know that there are exceptions to this rule, giving you the option to sue an employer under limited situations. Some of these include:
- You suffered an injury that was caused by a deliberate physical assault by your employer.
- Your injury was somehow intensified by an event related to your employment which was fraudulently concealed by your employer.
- You have been injured by a product manufactured by your employer.
- Your injury was caused as a result of an improperly assembled power press machine.
- Your employer did not carry workers’ compensation insurance when your injury took place.
If you have reason to believe that filing for a workers’ compensation claim is not in your best interest, consider seeking the legal expertise of an attorney who has experience in dealing with workplace injury law.
Civil Lawsuits versus Filing for Workers’ Compensation
For most employees who have sustained injuries while at work, filing for a workers’ compensation claim will be the only option. Workers’ Compensation is a “no fault” system — for the most part, workers’ compensation will practically guarantee benefits paid out to injured workers. In return, the worker will generally agree to forfeit the ability to sue his or her employer. These are some of the disadvantages of the system:
- A limit on benefits in the event that the injury has resulted in mental incapacitation, death, or permanent physical incapacitation.
- Other limits enforced by local rules and regulations.
There may also exist circumstances which allow you to bring a civil action against a culpable third-party as well as pursue a Workers’ Compensation claim. You should speak to an attorney immediately to see if this applies to your situation.
Filing a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you have been injured at work and are considering filing a workers’ compensation claim, you will need to act swiftly since there are several applicable time limitations. You should also try to do the following:
- Report the claim to your supervisor or to the appropriate department in a timely manner.
- File a written claim with your employer.
Deadlines are of the utmost importance; filing in a timely manner can make the difference between an approved or denied workers’ compensation claim.
Obtain Legal Support
If you have been injured while at work and are not sure if you should file a workers’ compensation claim, speak to a qualified attorney as soon as possible. When it comes to workers’ compensation claims in the State of California time is of the essence; seek legal counsel as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are highly skilled in the field of workers’ compensation claims. Richard Irwin is a certified Workers’ Compensation Specialist. If you are unsure if you need to file for a claim or if your claim has been denied, seek expert legal advice.