No industry is unsusceptible to workplace injuries. You can sustain injuries on the job in a multitude of ways, but there are two basic categories. You can either suffer from a one-time event like hurting your back from a fall or repeated events like daily exposure to loud noise causing hearing defects.
As a California employee in a no-fault system state, you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer. This arrangement also means there’s no burden to prove that your employer is liable. You must only show that you endured pain while at work.
With the overwhelming medical bills piling up, you must wonder about the safety nets that can get you through this ordeal.
Workers’ compensation benefits
The law requires that employers pay for workers’ compensation insurance to address workplace incidents, which includes the following benefits:
- Medical cost: Doctors’ fees, tests and other additional expenses for treatment
- Supplemental benefits: Vocational training and other skills enhancement programs aimed to get you back on track with your job responsibilities
- Temporary disability benefits: Accounts for lost wages since your injury prevents you from performing your tasks and usually amounts to two-thirds of your weekly income
- Permanent disability benefits: Based on your disability rating, if you don’t recover completely and incur lifetime physical and mental losses or dysfunctions
- Death benefits: Payments for your surviving spouse, children or other dependents
However, there are instances when another individual’s negligence caused your injury. For example, you had a car accident while driving the company vehicle because of another distracted driver. You could also have broken bones because of a slip-and-fall incident on a property not owned by your employer. These examples demonstrate a third-party claim.
A third-party claim, separate from workers’ compensation, refers to a personal injury claim against an individual or another entity that caused your injury. Establishing third-party liability entails proving that the third party has a duty of care obligation to you and that breach of such duty resulted in workplace injuries.
Thus, a third-party claim allows you to recover compensation beyond workers’ compensation, such as property damage, emotional distress and future medical bills.
Your course of action
You can pursue both claims, which requires considerable work and a thorough understanding of the procedures and potential outcomes. On top of trying to heal from physical injuries, facing such legal complexities could be an added burden. A legal counsel can guide you through maximizing compensation and bouncing back.