Every job has its dangers. Whether you tripped and fell at the office, crashed while driving a company car, or suffered serious injuries on a construction site, you're entitled to pursue compensation when you get seriously injured on the job. Every year, thousands of Californians are rushed to the hospital because of workplace accidents.
Workers' compensation laws in the state of California give you the right to medical care, permanent and temporary disability pay, and more, even if you were responsible for the accident that caused your injuries. Under California law, employers are legally required to carry insurance that covers workers that get injured on the job. Insurance companies are financially liable to workers that suffer injuries.
At Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, you can rest assured knowing that the full force of their experience fighting, and winning, will be put to work on your behalf. Call (323) 782-0535 today to obtain your free case evaluation from a caring, proven Los Angeles work injury attorney.
Work Injuries That Result in Compensation
Not every work injury is one in which you can receive workers' compensation. Some minor injuries are not worth hiring a work injury lawyer, but you should never try to make that decision without a full evaluation from an experienced professional.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 5,333 workers died as a result of workplace injuries in the United States in 2019 and nearly 2.8 million people were injured at work or became ill as a result of workplace injuries during the same year.
The following are common injuries that occur at work as well as tips to help determine whether or not they require a California work injury attorney:
Slips, trips, and falls: These types of injuries account for nearly a third of all types of personal injuries in the workplace. Falls can result in injuries ranging from head, neck and back injuries to broken bones, cuts, sprains and pulled muscles. Some of the common reasons why slips, trips and falls occur in the workplace include spills, slick surfaces, weather hazards, loose rugs, poor lighting, clutter or debris, uncovered wiring and uneven walking areas. Roof falls can result in significant injuries. Scaffolding accidents can result in injuries or death. If the fall resulted in significant medical bills, victims should contact a work injury lawyer they trust as soon as possible and have their situation evaluated for workers' compensation.
Machinery-related injuries: A number of worksites have people working with heavy machinery. When cranes, forklifts, or any other type of machinery does not have proper guards, they can pose a major safety hazard. Body parts could get caught. Workers could get struck by moving parts or flying components from machines, which lack protective guards. Machinery-related accidents could result in crushed body parts, lacerations, loss of vision, etc. Machines should have guards to prevent accidents. Defective machinery can cause serious injuries or death. Operators of machinery should get proper training and also receive protective equipment such as clothing, eye shields, hearing protection and so on. If the injury resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact a work injury lawyer they trust as soon as possible.
Vehicle-related accidents: These are some of the most common types of accidents at construction sites and other work areas. Workers may be struck by or run over by a moving vehicle. They may fall off a vehicle or be struck by objects falling from a vehicle. Avoiding these types of accidents begins with evaluating who is at risk as well as how, when, where and why these accidents commonly occur. If the accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact a work injury lawyer they trust as soon as possible and have their claim to workers' compensation benefits evaluated.
Fire and explosions: Explosions and fires in the workplace are often caused by risk factors such as defective gas lines and flammable materials that are not properly stored. The injuries caused by fires and explosions could be devastating and life changing. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends several safety measures to prevent these types of deadly accidents and injuries including maintaining material safety data sheets for all chemicals and providing workers with personal protective equipment at all times. If the accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact an attorney they trust as soon as possible.
Trenching accidents: Every year, more than two dozen construction workers are killed in excavation and trench collapse accidents. Hundreds more suffer severe and debilitating injuries. OSHA provides regulations on the safety measures that must be taken to reduce the risk of accidents or injuries from trenching and excavating. Those generally include having a protective system for trenches that are five feet or deeper, unless it is made up completely of stable rock, and safe access to and from all excavations, such as ladders or ramps. If the accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact a work injury lawyer they trust as soon as possible.
Welding accidents: Welding is a process that is essential to work sites in California and throughout the country, but it is also highly dangerous. Despite there being heavy regulations in place to help keep workers safe, welding accidents continue to happen, and the resulting injuries are often severe. If the accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact an attorney they trust as soon as possible for a potential workers' compensation claim.
Warehouse accidents: There is a disproportionately high accident rate in warehouses than in other employment sectors. Additionally, the fatal injury rate exceeds the national average in all workplaces. This is due to such an active environment, containing heavy products and volatile equipment. If the warehouse accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact an attorney they trust as soon as possible.
Your Workplace Injury Rights
Many victims of workplace injuries are unaware of their rights after a work injury. In some cases, victims fail to take necessary steps to claim their compensation and their opportunity is lost. If you have been injured on the job, you have a number of legal rights to consider and utilize (when appropriate):
- You have a right to file a claim with the responsible insurance company for your injury by filing a workers' compensation claim.
- You have the right to see a doctor and pursue medical treatment.
- You have the right to return to your job if your doctor has released you to return to work.
- You have the right to disability compensation if you are unable to return to work due to your injury – be it short-term or long-term.
- In addition to filing for workers' compensation, you have the right to file a work injury lawsuit against the third party (other than your employer) whose negligence or wrongdoing caused your injury.
- You have the right to be represented by a work injury lawyer throughout the work injury claim process.
- You have the right to file a work injury lawsuit regardless of your immigration status.
The Importance Of Third Party Investigation
Often times, there are situations when a worker's injury is caused by the negligence of a third party – someone other than his or her employer. In such cases, you may be able to file a third-party claim against a separate insurance company, which is a civil lawsuit filed in state or federal courts. Civil lawsuits for work-related injuries can seek additional monetary damages that are typically not recoverable in a workers' compensation claim. For these claims, a third-party lawsuit attorney with experience in this field can help you maximize your compensation opportunities.
The benefits you receive in a workers' compensation claim typically reimburse you for medical expenses and a portion of lost wages. But, in a third-party claim or injury lawsuit, you are allowed to seek compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. Examples of third parties who could become defendants in work injury lawsuits include but are not limited to general contractors, sub-contractors, construction companies, property owners, manufacturers of defective products, etc. Third-party claims are also typically worth much more than a workers' compensation claim, which may not necessarily justly or fully compensate workers or families of deceased workers for their significant losses. It is important for victims to find out if they can sue their employer, obtain workers' compensation, and pursue a third-party claim for their injuries.
Workers compensation versus Personal Injury
The primary differences between a workers' compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit in work injury cases involve fault requirements and the types of compensation available to injured workers. However, the biggest and most significant difference between a personal injury claim and a workers' comp claim is that a personal injury claim has a basis in fault while a workers' compensation does not.
Fault and Negligence
In a personal injury case, in order to recover damages, the defendant must have been negligent in some way. In other words, the plaintiff in a personal injury case must prove that the defendant caused his or her injuries and the resulting damages and losses due to negligence (carelessness) or wrongdoing. For example, if your personal injury lawsuit stems from a car accident where the driver sped up, ran a red light and struck you when you were on the job, then you can claim in your injury lawsuit that the driver acted in a negligent or reckless manner by violating the rules of the road.
In workers' compensation cases, fault is not required. An employee who suffers an injury on the job is entitled to workers' comp benefits. Whether or not workers receive these benefits doesn't hinge on who was at fault. You don't need to prove that your employer or co-workers were negligent in order to receive workers' comp benefits. Even if a worker's negligence caused his own injury, he would still be entitled to receive workers' comp benefits.
Pain and Suffering
One of the biggest differences between damages in a personal injury lawsuit and a workers' compensation case is that workers are not entitled to receive benefits for pain and suffering in a workers' comp case. In a personal injury lawsuit, workers are entitled to receive full compensation including for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
Also, filing a personal injury lawsuit will give workers the opportunity to claim compensation for other losses such as lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, permanent injuries, and loss of life's enjoyment – which are all not covered under workers' comp. It is important to understand that workers' comp benefits only pay medical expenses and a portion of lost income. You cannot receive benefits for pain and suffering in a workers' comp case.
Workers Compensation: Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about workers' compensation in California:
Is my employer required to carry workers' compensation insurance?
Under California law, all employers are required to carry workers' compensation insurance – even if they have only one employee.
What does workers' compensation pay for?
Workers' comp essentially covers medical expenses and a portion of lost income after a worker is injured on the job. Workers' comp only covers such expenses for injuries that are suffered on the job. Medical treatment benefits typically cover the full cost of doctor's bill and other medical expenses incurred. Disability payments equal about two-thirds of your regular wages while you are temporarily disabled. If your disability is permanent, you will receive a disability rating and permanent benefits based on that rating. Benefits are also available for job retraining if you are unable to return to the same type of work.
Can I choose my own doctor?
You may be able to choose your own doctor. However, your employer may have the authority to choose your doctor for your first appointment. After that, you may be able to select a different doctor as long as the doctor accepts workers' comp insurance.
Can I sue a party other than my employer after a work-related injury?
Yes. These types of claims are known as third-party claims. Third-party claims are essentially personal injury claims that are filed against individuals or entities (other then the employer) who caused your accident and injuries. These types of claims are often worth much more than workers' comp benefits because they cover other types of damages, which are not typically covered under workers' comp such as lost future income, loss of earning capacity and pain and suffering. Examples of third parties include contractors, sub-contractors, property owners and manufacturers of defective products.
Are undocumented workers covered under workers' compensation?
California workers' compensation law specifically includes "aliens" in the definition of employees who are eligible for workers' compensation benefits. So, even if you are undocumented, you are entitled to receive compensation for injuries suffered on the job.
How Greenberg And Ruby Injury Attorneys Can Help
There is hardly anything more fulfilling than being gainfully employed and being able to earn a livelihood, which gives us the ability to create a safe and secure present and future for our families. However, a workplace injury can quickly turn that life of safety and security upside down. In fact, such injuries can have life-changing consequences and may even challenge your family's financial future.
Here are a few of their results that have garnered national attention:
- $12 million verdict –Wrongful Death Product Liability. Mother of three children died in a truck explosion
- $12 million – Product Liability Defective Vehicle
- $7 million – Wrongful Death Car Accident
- More Results
Greenberg And Ruby Injury Attorneys has a proven record of helping those who have been injured at work secure maximum compensation for their injuries, damages and losses in the form of settlements and verdicts. They understand the pain, confusion, loss and grief a sudden injury or death can cause. They have the knowledge, experience and resources to help victims and families with their unique challenges.
The Los Angeles injury attorneys at Greenberg and Ruby also have significant experience filing third-party claims, which are likely worth substantially more than a workers' compensation claim. They will leave no avenue unexplored when it comes to achieving the best possible outcome in your case. Whether a case is settled out of court or goes to trial, their work injury attorneys know and fully understand what it takes to win. Call them today at (323) 782-0535 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.