Third-Party Workplace Injury Lawsuits and California’s Workers’ Compensation Exclusive Remedy Rule

When an employee is injured in a California workplace accident, they will likely miss a substantial amount of work and may have significant medical expenses related to their injury. When it comes to recovering financially for injuries sustained in a California on-the-job accident, injured workers generally have two avenues of recovery:  a workers’ compensation claim or a third-party personal injury lawsuit.

A workers’ compensation claim is designed to be a quick and efficient way to get an injured employee compensation for their injuries. The workers’ compensation program is a no-fault program, meaning that an employee does not need to establish that their injury was caused by the negligence of their employer or a fellow employee. However, workers’ compensation claims do not permit the recovery of damages related to an employee’s pain and suffering, which can be considerable.

An injured employee’s other option is to file a third-party personal injury claim against the party responsible for causing their injuries. Injured employees who file third-party injury claims will need to establish that the named defendant was somehow negligent and that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of their injuries. If successful, an injured employee who files a third-party personal injury claim may be entitled to compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and any pain and suffering that was caused by the accident. In some cases involving “oppression, fraud, or malice,” the injured employee may also be eligible for punitive damages.

California’s Workers’ Compensation Exclusivity Rule

One very important caveat to California workplace injury claims is the workers’ compensation exclusive remedy rule. The exclusivity rule, contained in California Labor Code section 3600, states that a workers’ compensation claim is an injured employee’s sole remedy against their employer in most cases. This means that, if an employer is in compliance with California workers’ compensation requirements, and the injury at issue is covered under the workers’ compensation statute, the employee cannot file a personal injury claim against their employer.

It is important to keep in mind that some California workplace injuries involve the negligence of a third party, meaning the accident was not a result of the employee’s or employer’s negligence. It is in these situations in which the injured worker may then be able to file a third-party personal injury claim. Third-party personal injury claims can be very complex and should be handled by dedicated Southern California personal injury attorneys who are experienced in this specific type of claim.

Have You Been Injured on the Job?

If you have been injured in a California workplace accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a California third-party workplace injury lawsuit. The dedicated personal injury attorneys at Sharifi Firm have decades of collective experience handling California injury claims, including those that occur in the workplace. We offer knowledgeable and compassionate advice to help you through the complex and often frustrating system. Let us help you with your case by calling 866-422-7222 to schedule a free consultation.

More Blog Posts:

California Court Discusses Potentially Conflicting Witness Testimony, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, January 5, 2018

Third-Party Workers’ Compensation Claims in California, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, December 26, 2017

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