Did You Suffer a Work Injury Due to a Third-Party’s Negligence?
Our Santa Maria Work Accident Attorneys Are Here to Help
When you suffer an injury at work, California law states that you have the right to file a workers’ comp claim with your employer. This law also states that you cannot sue your employer for your injury. However, workers’ compensation may not provide you and your family with all the compensation you need. Luckily, filing for workers’ comp is not the only way to collect compensation. In some instances, it may be possible for you to file a third-party claim after a work accident.
At the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates our father-daughter team of attorneys is ready to help after a work accident. Getting compensation for a work injury can be frustrating. There are many forms to fill out, and if your employer is not the only liable party, filing the proper lawsuits could be difficult. We have experience filing this type of work accident claim and we offer a free consultation.
How Often Do Work Accidents Happen in California?
Considering how often work accidents happen in California, it is important to know your rights. In 2019, over 483,000 California workers suffered nonfatal work injuries. That same year, 451 workers lost their lives to work accidents in our state (California Departement of Industrial Relations).
The majority of these work accidents happened in the private sector. The top three industries for nonfatal injuries are:
When examining fatal work accidents, the top three industries are:
If you work in any of these fields, it is important to know your rights when it comes to workplace accidents.
What Is a Third-Party Lawsuit?
As mentioned above, you have the right to file a workers’ comp claim in California. These are “no-fault” claims, so it does not matter if you were responsible for your accident or if your employer was. But what happens if neither you nor your employer is responsible for your injury? In these circumstances, a third-party may be liable for the injuries you suffered. Since California workers’ compensation laws do not cover third-parties, you must file a personal injury lawsuit to collect compensation from these parties. This type of claim is a third-party lawsuit.
If a Third-Party Contributed to My Injury, Can I Still File for Workers’ Compensation?
As long as you were on the job when you suffered your injury, you can still file for workers’ compensation. This is true even when someone other than your employer is responsible for your accident. For example, if you were driving the company vehicle while on the clock and a truck collided with you, you may still file for workers’ comp. However, you may also be able to file a third-party claim against the trucker or trucking company.
You can even file a claim against companies that manufacture faulty products. As long as their negligence to produce a safe product contributed to your work injury, they may be liable for compensation.
Third-party lawsuits are especially helpful when workers’ comp benefits do not cover all of your losses. Awards from third-party claims are often larger than workers’ compensation benefits. But it is important to note that California law does not allow “double-dipping.”
What Is Double-Dipping?
If you collect compensation from a third-party claim, your employer is entitled to part of that award. Double-dipping happens when you do not compensate your employer after collecting compensation from a third-party. This is why it is important to notify your employers when you are pursuing a third-party claim. If your employer pursues a third-party claim against those who are responsible for your accident, they must also inform you. In some situations, both you and your employer may be able to file suit together.
How Can a Third-Party Liability Attorney Help?
As you can tell, recovering compensation for your work accident can be very complex. Handling these challenges while recovering from your work injury can often be impossible. This is why it is important to consult an experienced attorney.
A third-party claims attorney can help take away some of that burden. Your attorney can gather evidence and help you build a strong case. A lawyer can also help analyze your work accident to see if there are other parties involved, such as:
- Property owners
- Manufacturing companies
- Insurance companies
Do not try to take on the legal system by yourself. Choose a law firm with experience handling the system. The Santa Maria work injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Esteban L. Valenzuela & Associates have that experience. Our law firm has a legacy reaching back over 40 years. We provide caring and compassionate service when you are struggling to heal. For assistance with your potential third-party liability case, please call us at (805) 608-3743 to set up a free consultation.