Generally, if you've been hurt on the job California worker's compensation determines your right to recover. However, in some cases a tort remedy (i.e. filing a civil lawsuit) may be available. Other times, both types of claims may be filed. Consulting with a Sacramento worker's compensation lawyer is the best way to determine your next steps and your best options to obtain compensation when you've been injured.
On the job injuries include a variety of situations, from obvious injuries requiring medical care - such as head and brain injuries, back injuries and slips and falls - to diseases acquired from working around toxic substances such as asbestos and conditions that develop as the result of repeated strain or continuous trauma.
Where workers' compensation provides recovery to victims of work place accidents, you may be able to recover medical costs, lost income, expenses related to vocational training, permanent disability compensation and death benefits. A recent California worker's compensation case reviewed just how damages from work place injuries should be measured. Specifically, it evaluated how cost of living adjustments (COLAs) should be determined. This is a significant decision because it determines whether payments are measured prospectively from January 1st of the first year after a worker is injured or retroactively to January 1st after the year in which a worked is injured.
Here, a worker was injured in 2004 and asserted that his weekly payment should be adjusted based on his injury date. The appeals court agreed. However, the California Supreme Court overturned this decision. The Court reasoned that COLAs are intended to be "calculated and applied prospectively commencing from January 1st following the date on which the injured worker first becomes entitled to receive, and actually begins receiving such benefit payments."
Workers' compensation laws are complex and can be very confusing. An experienced Sacramento workplace accident lawyer can evaluate your circumstance and determine whether alternative avenues to compensation exist. Because recovery of damages may be limited in a worker's compensation case, filing a tort claim may provide an opportunity for greater recovery.
Workplace accidents that may allow you to file a civil lawsuit include where a third party is somehow involved in causing the accident. This may be where a manufacturer provides malfunctioning equipment used at a work site and this equipment injures you, where you are exposed to toxic substance, if you are injured in a traffic accident caused by another driver or where a third party contractor creates a dangerous condition that leads to harm. In fact, many different types of negligence third party actions exist that may allow an individual harmed in a workplace accident to bring a civil lawsuit. Types of lawsuits available may include product liability or premises liability. If successful, you may be able to recover past and future medical costs, past and future lost wages, emotional distress and other damages, often substantially more than is available through California worker's compensation laws.
Because workplace accidents involve so many different factors and considerations, it is best to contact a Sacramento personal injury attorney to determine the best strategy for you to ensure you are compensated for your harm.
For more information, or to speak with a dedication Sacramento injury lawyer, contact the experienced Sacramento accident attorneys at the Law Offices of Frederick J. Sette for a confidential consultation.