Cramer and Martinez

Free Consultation408-848-1113

7459 Monterey St., Suite A, Gilroy, CA 95020

Workers’ Compensation and Suing Your Employer

 Posted on September 07,2022 in Workers' Compensation

Gilroy workers' compensation lawyerEvery year, nearly three million American workers are hurt on the job. These injuries cost U.S. companies tens of billions of dollars in reduced productivity, to say nothing of the costs related to treating the injured workers and helping them recover. With this in mind, the workers’ compensation system was developed to help ensure that injured employees receive financial benefits to cover their medical expenses, the costs associated with retraining for new jobs, and a percentage of their lost wages. While workers’ compensation benefits are available and suitable for most work injury cases, you might be wondering if you have the ability to sue your employer for additional compensation.

Fault Is Not a Consideration

In California, as in other states, the workers’ compensation program is set up as a no-fault system that affords certain protections for employees in the event that they get hurt at work. As a no-fault system, workers’ compensation benefits are meant to be available without regard to whether an injury is caused by the negligence or actions of the injured employee or the employer. If an injured employee had to prove negligence on the part of the employer in order to collect benefits, far fewer workers’ compensation claims would ever be paid, and thousands of injured employees would be left without much hope of collecting anything. 

Consider this example: Your job requires you to reach an item on a high shelf, so you find a ladder that is well-maintained and in good condition. While you are on the ladder, you twist your body to reach the item. You fall off the ladder and are injured. Your employer did not do anything or allow anything to happen that would be considered negligent. But under the California workers’ compensation system, fault is not a factor, so you could still file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits.

Limiting Civil Actions Against Employers

According to the California Workers’ Compensation Act, if you are an employee that is covered by workers’ compensation insurance—insurance that California employers are required to have—you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits in the event of a work-related injury. Therefore, you have no express or implied right to sue your employer for your losses in most cases. There are some very limited exceptions, such as if your employer deliberately tried to hurt you, but generally, if you get hurt at work, suing your employer is not an available option.

Liability by a Third Party

In certain situations, someone else could be at least partially at fault for your injuries. For example, a maintenance contractor may have negligently used a cleaning product on your workplace floor, leaving the floor unacceptably slippery. Or, you could have been hurt in a car crash while driving for your job, and another motorist was responsible for causing the accident. These examples would probably require you to file a third-party personal injury claim against the negligent party or parties. Your third-party claim could be filed in addition to your workers’ compensation claim.

Call a Gilroy Workplace Injury Attorney

If you have questions about the California workers’ compensation program or you are considering filing a third-party workplace injury claim, contact an experienced Santa Clara County workers’ compensation attorney at Cramer + Martinez. We will review your case and help you choose the best course of action for getting the compensation you deserve. Call 408-848-1113 to schedule a free consultation today.


Share this post:
Back to Top