Third Party Liability
DuRard, McKenna & Borg in San Mateo, California represents injured workers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in workers' compensation matters and related third-party claims.
Workers' Compensation Exclusivity
Workers who are injured on the job are generally limited to remedies provided by the workers' compensation system. This means that even if you are injured due to negligence on the part of your employer, you may not bring a claim for personal injuries. Instead, California's workers' compensation laws provide for a no-fault system that provides workers with an expedited process for obtaining immediate medical treatment benefits and payment for lost wages; in exchange, workers are not entitled to receive the types or amounts of damages they might receive if they were able to sue employers in a civil lawsuit.
Third-Party Liability for Personal Injuries
Commonly, however, workplace injuries or illnesses are caused by the negligence of someone other than the employer. There are no legal bars to bringing civil lawsuits against non-employer third-parties who negligently cause your injuries. Two of the most common types of third-party liability claims include:
- Personal Injury Claims: If you were injured by a third-party's negligence during the course of carrying out your job duties, you can bring a civil lawsuit against that third party to recover for your personal injuries. For example, if as part of your job, you are driving to pick up supplies and another car hits you, you can bring a negligence action against the other driver and sue for damages.
- Products Liability Claims: Workers are often injured by defectively designed or manufactured products which they use during the course of carrying out their job duties. For example, if you are using industrial machinery, driving a forklift, working with construction tools, or using safety equipment and are injured by an equipment malfunction, you may have a claim against the equipment manufacturer.
In a civil lawsuit brought to recover damages for personal injuries, you can recover different, and usually a higher amount of, damages than you will be able to recover in the workers' compensation system. You may be able to recover your actual economic damages for medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of earning capacity. In the workers' compensation system, you receive only a fraction of your lost wages and an even smaller fraction of any loss in earning capacity you suffer as a result of your work-related injuries. In addition, you can recover non-economic damages, such as for pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages in some cases.
At DuRard, McKenna & Borg, we have significant personal injury experience as well as workers' compensation experience, and understand how to coordinate the complicated interaction between the workers' compensation system and the additional money you might be entitled to if you were awarded damages in civil lawsuit. As your time to bring a third-party claim is limited, it is essential that you contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible.
Contact Experienced Lawyers
If you have been injured in a workplace accident, our experienced workers' compensation attorneys can analyze all facets of your case to determine the best course of action to maximize your recovery. Our lawyers speak Spanish, Hindi, and Arabic, allowing us to serve the diverse community of the San Francisco Bay Area. We offer free initial consultations, as well as take cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay no legal fees unless we successfully help you recover. Call us today at (650) 425-3278.