Workers Comp Attorneys Explain When You Can Also Sue

Ask the Long Beach Attorneys:
When Can You Sue in a Workers Comp Case?

long beach workers comp attorneyWorkers Compensation was put in place so that injured employees would “automatically” receive compensation – and not have to resort to a lawsuit for their injuries. The flip side to this “protection” for workers was that they give up their right to file a regular lawsuit against their employer for damages related to a workplace injury or illness.

While workers’ comp is typically the injured worker’s “exclusive remedy” for a work-related accident, or cumulative trauma injury, or occupational disease there are some very limited EXCEPTIONS where an employee CAN sue – in addition to workers comp.

In those limited case where you are eligible to file a lawsuit against your employer (or a third party) in civil court, you are not limited to the amounts you would have collected under workers’ compensation benefits. In addition to lost wages and medical expenses you may also be able to sue for pain and suffering and/or punitive damages in a civil lawsuit.

When You Can File Workers Comp AND a Lawsuit

  1. Intentional Harm

If your employer intentionally hurt you may be able to sue them for “intentional harm”. Usually this is defined as “taking action with the specific & direct intent of harming you”. It does not include “carelessness” – even if the carelessness was extreme. An example of Intentional Harm would be if your employer punched you in the head.

  1. No or Insufficient Workers Compensation

In California (and all other states except Texas) employers are required by law to have Workers Compensation Insurance in place. If your employer broke the law by not having workers comp insurance, you can typically file a lawsuit against them to recover damages from your work-related injury or occupational disease.

  1. Independent Contractors (1099 Employees)

Employers are not required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for “independent contractors” who receive 1099 forms at the end of the year. If you were injured while working as a 1099 employee, you can typically file a lawsuit against the person company for who you were working.

  1. Third Party Lawsuits

Even if workers’ compensation prevents you from suing your employer in civil court for a work-related injury – you may be able to sue someone else who is not your employer, if they are responsible for your injuries.   This is called a “third-party” lawsuit.

Some examples of third party lawsuits for work related injuries include:

  • Auto Accidents – where you sue another driver for your injuries in a car accident that happened while you were working.
  • Slip & Falls – where you sue another business or property owner for your injuries from falling on their property while you were working.
  • Subcontractors – if you were injured while working for a subcontractor, you may be able to bring a lawsuit against the general contractor

Our Long Beach Workers Comp (“Workmans Comp”) Attorneys Can Help

If you have suffered a workplace illness, injury, disease or disability, our experienced workers comp attorneys will look at your case from every angle – to maximize your benefits and to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve from every source. Call our workers compensation attorneys today for a free, no obligation, and consultation – to understand your rights and to obtain the maximum workers compensation benefits for which you qualify.

Call Our Long Beach Workers Comp Attorneys: 562-622-4800

Long Beach Workers Comp (“Workmans Comp”) attorneys serving Los Angeles, Orange County & Southern California, including: Anaheim, Carson, Bellflower, Compton, Downey, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, La Mirada, Lakewood, Lomita, San Pedro, Santa Ana, Torrance, Wilmington, Whittier and Yorba Linda.