All employers must provide a safe and reasonable work environment for their employees. California law requires mandatory insurance for all employees that work in businesses with over 50 full-time workers. It is required that all employers are to provide a safe work environment free of any harm. Failure to do so could result in the injury of an employee and could lead to a lawsuit. That employee would be seeking to gain worker’s compensation benefits, but in some cases, the employee would be able to sue the employer directly in civil court as well. If you’ve been injured on the job, contact Pride Legal to speak with a legal expert.
What’s the difference between a civil lawsuit and worker’s compensation?
Generally, when going after an employer for a workplace-related injury, the employee would typically receive only worker’s compensation. Although this is the general rule, there are some exceptions:
-If the employee was injured due to a defective product, or maintenance had not been done on machinery, leading to injury
-If the employee was exposed to a toxic substance
-If the employer intentionally injured the employee
-If the employer failed to carry worker’s compensation during the time period of injury
Although worker’s compensation covers many things such as medical costs, mileage costs, and lost wages, they do not include pain and suffering compensation. Sadly, if a person is permanently injured, that employee will be stuck with a highly regulated amount of benefits, due to the Department of Regulations. This is why many people opt to sue their employer instead of collecting worker’s compensation benefits, as that employee would gain much more compensation.
What are my rights as an employee? What can I do If I’ve been injured on the job?
California has some of the strongest worker’s compensation laws in the US, but nothing can really amount to a civil lawsuit. When collecting worker’s compensation, an employee would be granted medical costs, mileage payment, lost wages, time off, and if permanently injured, some form of compensation. Read more about California worker’s compensation laws here. Once an employee becomes injured at the workplace, the first step should be getting in contact with an attorney. The employee should not take any compensation the employer has to offer, as that would be seen as the settlement- no matter the cost. For example, your employer could say let me cut you a check, or let me cover your medical bills. This would be seen as a settlement if the employee agrees.
An employee has the right to not be retaliated against once they file a workplace injury claim. California law protects employees against retaliation in the workplace, and if an employer retaliates against an employee, that employee would be able to sue the employer for more money.
Worker’s also have rights when injured by a third party, or while working for a third party. For example, a construction worker could be working a third party for a job and they become injured. Who would be liable? Who would the employee be able to sue? Typically, these claims are not brought to worker’s compensation courts, but rather directly to civil court. These are known as ‘third party claims,’ and would be brought directly to the person or entity that hired the employee.
What kind of compensation is involved in a workplace injury claim?
As stated before, worker’s compensation claims do not compensate the employee as much as a civil suit would. Read here about the types of worker’s compensation an employee would receive. When bringing the suit to civil court, the employee would be able to sue for loss of wages, loss of future capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, medical treatment, and loss of enjoyment. The amount would further increase depending on the severity of the injuries and if they are permanent.