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 Los Angeles 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, APC 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.
Key Points - Table of Contents
- Work Injury Statistics
- Causes of Workplace Accidents
- Types of Los Angeles Work Injury Cases We Handle
- Los Angeles Workers' Rights After An Injury
- How Third Party Lawsuits Affect Injured Workers
- Notifying Your Employer
- Third-Party Work Accident Cases
- How Third Party Lawsuits Affect Injured Workers
- Third-Party Work Accident Damages
- How Does a Permanent Disability Rating Affect a Final Work Injury Settlement?
- Workers' Compensation versus Personal Injury Compensation
- Do You Need a California Work Injury Lawyer?
- Free Consultation From Experienced Work Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles
- Frequently Asked Questions
Work Injury Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), fatal work injuries totaled 462 in the year 2021 for California. Fatal occupational injuries in the state have ranged from a high of 657 in 1993 to a low of 326 in 2010. Nationwide, a total of 5,190 fatal work injuries were reported in 2021, which was a 9% increase from 4,764 in 2020, according to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI).
In California, transportation incidents resulted in 142 fatal work injuries and exposure to harmful substances or environmental caused 103 deaths. These two major categories accounted for 53% of all fatal workplace injuries in California. Falls, slips and trips resulted in 78 workplace deaths compared to 99 in 2020.
Nationwide, transportation incidents were the most frequent fatal event in 2021, accounting for 38% of fatal work injuries in the United States. Falls, slips and trips were the second most common fatal event (16%) followed by exposure to harmful substances. Contact with objects and equipment was involved in 14% of fatal incidents.
Also, Latinos accounted for 51% of those who died from a workplace injury in California. Nationwide, Latinos accounted for 22% of work-related deaths. Workers aged 25 to 54 years old accounted for 57% of the state's work-related fatalities in 2021, equal to the national rate.
Causes of Workplace Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of accidents in the workplace:
Slips, trips and falls: Slick floors, damaged carpeting or broken stairs are just a few examples of what might cause slip-trip-and-fall accidents in the workplace.
Lifting: Employees such as warehouse workers who are required to lift as part of their job may be prone to sprains or strains. While these injuries are not critical or life threatening, they can lead to conditions such as chronic pain, which have the potential to leave individuals disabled.
Repetitive stress: Repeatedly doing the same tasks such as typing, bending and assembling products could result in repetitive stress injuries. Carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the common examples of these types of injuries.
Hazardous materials: Improper storage of handling of hazardous materials is another common cause of workplace accidents. Often times, workers are not provided with proper personal protective equipment, which leaves them more vulnerable to injuries caused by hazardous materials.
Workplace violence: Unfortunately, violence in the workplace has become all too common. Employers should take proactive steps to resolve conflicts to reduce these types of risks. Employees should also receive safety training and be educated about the employer's action plans in crisis situations, such as how to respond in active shooter situations.
Types of Los Angeles Work Injury Cases We Handle
Not every Los Angeles 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. One of the most important questions employees should ask after a work injury is: do I need a work injury attorney?
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 workers compensation lawyer they trust as soon as possible and have their situation evaluated for workers' compensation.
Machinery-related injuries: A number of Los Angeles 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 workplace 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 workplace accidents begins with evaluating who is at risk as well as how, when, where and why these accidents commonly occur. If the workplace accident resulted in significant medical attention, victims should contact a workers compensation 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 a workers compensation 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 workplace injury attorney they trust as soon as possible.
Welding accidents: Welding is a process that is essential to work sites in Los Angeles 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 a workers compensation 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 a workers compensation attorney they trust as soon as possible.
Los Angeles Workers' Rights After An Injury
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 workers compensation lawyer throughout the work injury claim process.
- You have the right to file a work injury lawsuit regardless of your immigration status.
Notifying Your Employer
California employees do not have to prove that their employer was at fault for a work-related injury in order to file a workers' comp claim. However, employees in California do have a duty to report their work-related injuries or illnesses in a timely manner.
If you were injured in an accident on the job, the law requires you to notify your employer within 30 days of the incident. Even though you have 30 days, it is best to report it as soon you possibly can. If you have questions or concerns, please call an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can help address them. When it comes to repetitive stress injuries, you are required to notify your employer within 30 days as well. However, in such cases, the onset date or when you recognized you have the injury, may be disputed.
Once you inform your employer or supervisor about your workplace accident, they are required to provide you with a workers' comp claim form. When you turn in your portion of the form, you have satisfied you duty to report your injury. When you fail to notify your employer in a timely manner, it could lead to complications in the future including the denial of your injury claim.
Third-Party Work Accident Cases
When a worker is injured on the job, he or she is entitled to seek workers' compensation benefits. These benefits are awarded without the need to prove fault, be it on the employer or employee's part. However, in addition to workers' comp benefits, in some cases, injured workers can also bring what is known as a third-party liability claim. This is a claim that is brought against parties other than the employer who many have caused a worker to get injured on the job.
Typically, third-party liability arises when there is negligence on the part of individuals or entities, other than employers or supervisors, which causes the work injury. Examples of third parties include general contractors, sub-contractors, employees of other companies, property owners or managers, manufacturers of defective products, etc.
For example, if a worker is driving on the job and is struck by a negligent driver, in addition to workers' compensation, the injured employee can also file a third-party lawsuit against the at-fault driver. These third-party claims are important because they are worth significantly more than workers' comp benefits, which cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, but not non-economic damages such as pain and suffering. An experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer will be able to determine whether you have a claim against a third party.
How Third Party Lawsuits Affect Injured Workers
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.
Third-Party Work Accident Damages
As with any personal injury lawsuit, in a third-party work accident case, plaintiffs (or the injured workers) must prove that a defendant's negligence caused their injuries and damages. In such cases, the damages are typically paid by the defendant's insurance company in the form of a jury award (court judgment) or as a negotiated settlement.
Damages can be different in each case. If you have been injured on the job, it is important to speak with an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer who can advise you about whether you have a case against a party other than your employer. Third parties may include contractors on a project, property owners or manufacturers of defective products.
While workers' compensation benefits cover medical expenses and a portion of lost wages, compensation in third-party work accident lawsuits can be more comprehensive. Recoverable damages in third-party work accident cases include:
- Medical bills and future medical expenses
- Lost income and compensation for loss of earning capacity (future wages)
- Property damage
- Permanent injuries
- Disabilities, disfigurement and scarring
- Loss of life's enjoyment
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
If you have been injured on the job, it is important to work with knowledgeable work injury attorneys who can help you understand the full scope of damages so you can secure maximum compensation for your losses.
How Does a Permanent Disability Rating Affect a Final Work Injury Settlement?
A "rating" is essentially a percentage that estimates how much your disability limits the type of work you can do, or your ability to make a living. This rating is important because it also determines the amount of your permanent disability benefits. These ratings are based on a number of factors:
- Your medical condition as described in your official medical report
- Your date of injury
- Your age at the time of injury
- Your occupation (what you were doing at the time of the injury)
- To what extent your disability was caused by your job as opposed to other factors
A rating of 100%, which is rare, means that you have a permanent total disability. A rating between 1 and 99% means that you have permanent partial disability. Most injured workers do not have a permanent disability. Your permanent disability amounts are set by the law. The claims administrator will determine how much to pay you based on your disability rating, your date of injury and your income prior to the injury.
If you have concerns about how your permanent disability rating can affect your work injury settlement, please contact an experienced California work injury attorney who can provide answers and guidance.
Workers' Compensation versus Personal Injury Compensation
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 Los Angeles 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.
Do You Need a California Work Injury Lawyer?
If you are having a dispute with regard to your work injury claim, it is important that you consider retaining the services of an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer. You may need assistance with regarding to gathering evidence and documentation to substantiate your claim. A knowledgeable lawyer who is well versed with California workers' compensation and personal injury law will be able to put you in the best position to receive maximum compensation for your injuries and losses.
Here are some examples of when you need a California work injury lawyer:
- If your workers' compensation claim has been denied. In such cases, a work injury lawyer can guide you through the appeal process and come up with a plan for the best possible outcome.
- You have a preexisting condition. In such a scenario, you may face an uphill battle with the insurance company, which might blame your injury or your preexisting condition rather than connect it to an injury that happened on the job. A work injury lawyer can help prove and establish that your injury was caused by work-related activities and not the preexisting condition.
- You are having trouble getting medical treatment. A resourceful work injury lawyer will be familiar with medical evaluators and physicians in your area to help you get the treatment you need.
- You are having a workers' comp hearing. If the insurance company refuses to offer you a settlement or makes lowball offers, you may need to prove your case at a hearing. In such cases, it would be in your best interest to have an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer representing you at the hearing to maximize your chance of success.
Free Consultation From Experienced Work Injury Lawyers in Los Angeles
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 work truck explosion
- $12 million - Defective work vehicle.
- $7 million - On-the-job wrongful death car accident
- More Results
Greenberg and Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC 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 Injury Attorneys, APC 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 workplace injury attorneys know and fully understand what it takes to win. Call today at (323) 782-0535 to schedule your no-cost, no-obligation consultation and case evaluation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about workers' compensation in Los Angeles:
Is my employer required to carry workers' compensation insurance?
Under Los Angeles 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?
Los Angeles 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.