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Can I Sue My Employer After a Work Injury?

Generally, employees cannot sue their employers for work-related injuries that happened on-the-job, including injuries cased by slip and fall accidents. However, it is important to remember that there are exceptions. Workers' compensation laws in California require employers to pay for employee injuries regardless of who was at fault. In return, employers are immune from personal injury lawsuits from workers in a majority of situations. There are still exceptions to this rule and there are scenarios in which injured workers can hold their employers accountable for their damages and losses.

Understanding Employer Immunity and Exceptions to It

In most scenarios, workers' comp laws in California prevent employees from suing their employers for work-related injuries. Workers' compensation laws establish "employer immunity" because employers are required to pay workers' compensation benefits regardless of fault rather than requiring employees to prove that the employer was negligent.

That said there are exceptions to employer immunity. Here are some examples of situations in which you may be able to sue your employer:

  • You were injured as the result of your employer's willful assault or sanction of an assault by another employee.
  • Your injury became worse or was aggravated due to your employer's wrongful or fraudulent concealment of your injury and its link to your employment.
  • You were injured by a defective product made by your employer, and you had obtained the product from someone other than your employer.
  • Your employer did not have Workers' Compensation Insurance, as required by law.
  • You were injured by a power press with the machine guard removed. This applies where a worker's injury or death is caused by the employer's knowing removal or knowing failure to install a point of operation guard on a power press. In such cases, the removal or failure to install must have been specifically authorized by the employer under conditions of which the employer has knowledge, to create the probability of serious injury or death to workers.

What to Do If You Are Injured on the Job

If you were injured on the job, you may be able to file a lawsuit against your employer. Here are some important steps that you would be well advised to take in order to find out whether you are able to do so.

Workers' compensation eligibility: One of the first questions to ask if you've been injured on the job is whether or not you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits. If you are, it is highly likely that you may not be able to sue your employer. It is important that you file a claim for benefits in such cases.

Medical evaluation: You will need to show evidence of the cause and extent of injuries you suffered on the job. Therefore, it is important that you get a comprehensive medical evaluation as soon as possible. You may need to see a doctor approved by your employer in order to preserve your eligibility for workers' compensation.

Accident details: Write down as many details as possible about the accident because critical details can get fuzzy as time goes by. You have a better advantage when you have rich detail.

Work injury lawyer: It is also crucial that you contact an experienced lawyer who has a track record of representing injured workers.

Injured When You're Not on the Job?

Is it possible to sue your employer for medical expenses and other losses if you were not on the job when you suffered your injury? The answer in most cases is: No. But, there are still exceptions. For example, while commuting to and from work is generally not considered "on the job," you may be able to seek workers' compensation benefits if you were running a work-related errand on the way to or from work.

Similarly, you may be eligible for a work injury settlement even if you were not on your employer's premises at the time of the accident. For example, if you were on a company trip and suffered an accident during that time, you may be eligible for compensation.

How to Seek Full Compensation

Whether or not you are eligible for workers' compensation benefits or you are able to sue your employer under one of the exceptions described above, you may also be able to pursue a third-party personal injury claim if someone other than your employer caused your injuries. Some common examples of defendants in third-party cases areare  contractors, subcontractors, property owners, negligent drivers, and manufacturers or distributors of defective products. The immunity rule under California's workers' compensation law only applies to your employer. You can sue any other person or entity that is responsible for your injuries.

Statute of Limitations

Statute of limitations refers to the time limit within which a lawsuit must be filed. In California, the statute of limitations for personal injury claims is generally two years from the date of the injury. However, because the statute of limitations could vary depending on the type of lawsuit you file, it is important that you consult with an experienced Los Angeles work injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Los Angeles Work Injury Lawyers

If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury in California, it is important to take that first step and schedule a free consultation with an experienced work injury lawyer. At Greenberg and Ruby, we have a long and successful track record of helping injured workers fight for their rights and secure maximum compensation for their losses. Whether you were injured on the job, away from your workplace or were injured by a third party, we can help evaluate your case and help you make the decisions that can help bring you the best outcome.

Get Help Today

Greenberg And Ruby Injury Attorneys, APC helps California injury victims receive maximum compensation.

Their Los Angeles work injury lawyers provide free consultations and will gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Call today to have your questions answered by experienced, caring legal professionals for free.