California’s workers’ compensation system provides a relatively efficient way for workers to receive compensation for medical bills and lost wages after a work-related injury or illness. In most cases, the worker who is compensated through the system is not permitted to sue the employer to get more compensation.
However, workers’ comp may not cover the full cost of a serious injury, and it is important for injured workers to be aware of every available legal option for getting a fair settlement. Depending on how and why the injury happened, it may be possible to bring a civil claim against a third party whose actions somehow contributed to the accident.
Constructions sites, for example, typically involve a range of different companies and workers whose negligent actions could cause harm to a person working for someone else. If you work on a construction site, then you know you depend on multiple parties not to make mistakes that could injury you, and not all of those parties work for your employer.
If you are injured because of a third party’s negligence, then you may bring a third-party claim in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. An important thing to understand is that workers’ comp covers only two-thirds of an injured worker’s lost earnings, but a private lawsuit against a third party could lead to recovery of 100 percent of lost wages. Additionally, workers’ comp doesn’t cover damages for pain and suffering, but a third-party claim can.
The lawyers at Bender & Gritz are experienced in handling workers’ compensation claims in conjunction with third-party claims. These are complex cases, and injured workers should be aware of their legal options for maximizing their settlements.