If you were injured at work, you probably have dozens of questions about the process for filing a claim. In California, there are two ways your work injury claim might be filed: as a lawsuit or as a workers’ compensation claim. Talk to an attorney to find out which type of case is right for you and which type of claim you are entitled to file.
The Ventura workplace injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth may be able to help you file a lawsuit for injuries sustained at work and fight to get you the compensation you need from your employer. To schedule a free legal consultation on your case, contact our attorneys today at (805) 643-5555.
Can I Sue My Employer for Workplace Injuries in California?
As mentioned, there are two separate processes for filing a claim against your employer for a workplace injury: workers’ compensation and lawsuits. Workers’ compensation is a program regulated by the State of California which requires employers to carry insurance to cover injured workers’ medical bills and lost wages. When you use workers’ compensation after a construction accident or other on-the-job injury, you are entitled to this coverage as long as the injury or condition was work-related, but the damages that this insurance pays are often far lower than the damages you are entitled to claim in court – and those damages may be lower than you need.
You should always talk to an attorney about your case to determine which system is best for you. Workers’ compensation typically only covers 66% or your lost wages, meaning you can miss significant lost wage damages if you do not file your case in court. Additionally, workers’ comp. typically requires you to use a doctor that your employer or their insurance company chooses, not your own physician. Lastly, workers’ compensation does not cover damages for pain and suffering, which can be one of the highest parts of your lawsuit.
In some cases, you may be limited in your options to sue or file in court. For instance, you always have the right to file a lawsuit against a third party that injured you, such as the manufacturer of defective equipment or a coworker who injured you. However, some cases may need to be filed through workers’ compensation instead. Your right to sue instead of using workers’ comp. is typically protected in the following situations:
- When your claim is against a third party
- When your employer does not carry insurance
- If you are an independent contractor
- If you were injured intentionally (e.g., through assault and battery)
Damages for On-the-job Injury Lawsuits
When you take your injury case to court, you may be entitled to full compensation for any damages you suffered because of the injury. Typically, injury victims suffer expensive medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering their employer should compensate them for after a workplace accident. These damages can be claimed in a lawsuit at 100% of their value.
Damages for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering can cover the cost of any damages resulting from the injury. For medical bills, this usually includes hospital care, follow-up visits, surgeries, casts, wheelchairs, physical therapy, and other expenses. For lost wages, you can usually claim the value of paychecks you missed as well as future wages you will miss because your injury limits your ability to work. Pain and suffering damages are independent of these damages and are based on your personal experience and suffering.
To recover these damages in a lawsuit, your lawyer must prove the damages you faced. Keep a good record of any medical bills, bank statements, pay stubs, and other financial records related to your injury. Damages for your pain and suffering can be documented by keeping a journal of your experiences so that you can testify in court to how the injury affects your enjoyment of life and how the injury made it more difficult to perform day-to-day activities.
Many of these damages are only available to claim in full when you file a lawsuit against your employer or another responsible party. If you try to file your claim through workers’ compensation instead, the damages you can receive are often far lower and may be too low to cover your needs.
If your loved one was killed in an accident at work, you may also claim damages for their wrongful death. This includes the cost of medical care and pain and suffering at the end of their life as well as the costs you suffer because of their loss. For help seeking compensation for funeral and burial expenses, lost wages, lost companionship, and other damages, contact our law offices today.
Call Our Ventura, CA Workplace Injury Lawyers Today
After an accident at work, you may face serious injuries. Talk to an attorney about how to file your claim to maximize the compensation you are entitled to for your on-the-job injury lawsuit. To set up a free legal consultation with our Ventura personal injury attorneys, call the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today at (805) 643-5555.