How can a personal injury lawyer help in a workplace injury lawsuit?
As a general rule, workplace injuries are handled through the California workers’ compensation system. Claims handled through workers’ compensation are handled on a no-fault basis, which means that the injured employee does not have to prove that the employer did something wrong in order to receive benefits. Most employees who are hurt or become ill at work will be required to handle their claims through the workers’ compensation system.
However, there are several exceptions where an employee can file a civil lawsuit against an employer. If any of the following situations occurred, then an employee can seek compensation through a personal injury case:
- The employer did not have workers’ compensation insurance at the time of the injury;
- The injury is caused by a willful/intentional physical assault by the employer;
- The employee is injured by a product made by the employer, and the employee was on his or her free time when injured (known as a “dual capacity” lawsuit);
- The injury is aggravated by something related to employment that was fraudulently concealed by the employer; or
- The injury was from an improperly set up power press machine.
In these situations, a personal injury lawyer will be able to file a claim and seek damages on behalf of the injured worker, just as the attorney would in any other type of California personal injury case. The main advantage of filing a civil claim is that there is a possibility of a greater recovery. The disadvantage is that — unlike with the workers’ compensation system — the employee will be required to prove fault.