The workers’ compensation system was established with two main goals in mind: to allow employees who are injured on the job quick access to medical benefits and to protect employers from lawsuits. However, there are exceptions in which bringing a lawsuit against your employer may be allowed. In this blog post, our Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorney explains when you can sue your employer for an injury at work.
When Can I Sue My Employer for a Work Injury?
As mentioned above, in most work accident cases, an employer is not allowed to sue their employer for damages. Instead, the injured worker must file a claim through the California workers’ compensation system. This allows them to receive benefits directly from the government that covers their medical expenses related to the accident as well as a portion of wages lost if the injured employee had to take time off work.
However, in some cases—such as an instance where an employer was directly responsible for putting their employee in an unnecessarily risky situation—you may be able to file a lawsuit. This will also allow you to sue for pain and suffering and punitive damages in addition to receiving the standard workers’ compensation benefits.
Situations that may allow you to bring a lawsuit directly against your employer include:
- Your employer intentionally caused your injury
- Your employer was grossly negligent
- Your employer denied your valid workers’ compensation claim in bad faith
- Your employer has insufficient workers’ compensation insurance
- Your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance at all (which is illegal in California)
- You work as an independent contractor and technically don’t have an “employer,” allowing you to sue whoever was paying for your services when the accident occurred
- Your employer has a relationship with a contractor or subcontractor who was involved in your accident in some way
- Your employer manufactured the product or equipment that injured you
In all the above instances, you will need to prove your claim with substantial evidence, such as using surveillance footage, witness statements, medical records, or expert testimony. An experienced workers’ compensation lawyer will be able to help you collect the evidence you need to build a strong claim against the employer responsible for your accident. An attorney can also help you establish whether you have a viable claim against your employer in the first place. Take advantage of a free consultation with an attorney near you to determine your best route to securing compensation and the best possible recovery.
Injured at work in California? The Santa Ana workers’ compensation attorney at Ufkes & Bright can help with all aspects of your claim. Call (714) 500-8661 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation.