Can I Sue my Company for A Workplace Injury in California?
You more than likely already know a little something about workers’ compensation and what you need to do in order to be able to apply to receive your benefits if you should become injured due to an accident in the workplace. It may also cross your mind that you might be able to simply skip the workers’ compensation and sue your employer in a civil case instead. Are you allowed to do this? Will you receive any greater compensation than if you go through the traditional channels for recovering damages after a workplace accident?
In the majority of workplace accidents that result in an injury, the injured party is not able to sue their employer. This is true even if the employer was clearly negligent and that negligence led directly to the victim’s injury-accident. Workers’ compensation was created to be a quid pro quo arrangement between employers and employees, meaning that it would have benefits and disadvantages for both sides.
The Pros and the Cons
Employees benefit from the workers’ compensation setup because they don’t have to pay for expensive legal fees and other attorney-associated costs. Injured workers will begin to receive their medical benefits and their replacement for lost wages almost instantly. Injured employees may not, however, accept certain kinds of compensation that would normally be available in a civil lawsuit. They may not collect damages for pain and suffering or punitive damages of any kind.
Employers receive an advantage from the workers’ compensation arrangement because they are never in jeopardy of going bankrupt from a hefty damage award should an employee decide to sue and then win in civil court. One disadvantage, however, is that employers are responsible for acquiring the workers’ compensation insurance and financing the cost of the premiums.
Exceptions to the Rule
Like every other area of the law, there are exceptions, grey areas, loopholes, special cases, inconsistencies, and irregularities. There are even a few deviations from the “you can’t sue your employer” rule.
- Intentional or Egregious Conduct – If you were intentionally and maliciously hurt by your employer, or it can be shown that your employer perpetrated an egregious act against you, it might be possible for you to sue them for financial compensation outside the parameters of the workers’ compensation agreement. You will have to prove, however, that more than mere negligence took place. If you do win your court case, then you will be able to attempt to collect for pain and suffering, and possibly punitive damages as well.
- An Absence of Workers’ Compensation Coverage – You might also be able to take your employer to civil court in an attempt to collect damages for injuries that you sustained in the workplace if they neglected to have the required workers’ compensation for their business.
You won’t know which of these avenues to pursue until you speak to a qualified attorney. If you have been in a workplace accident and suffered from any type of injury, it is important that you seek qualified legal representation as soon as you possibly can. We here at Los Angles Injury Group have a team of experienced personal injury attorneys who have years of practice handling these types of cases here in California. If you would like to speak to one of our hard-working attorneys regarding a free consultation after your workplace accident, then please give us a call at 310-954-7248 today.