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Should I File a Personal Injury Claim or Workers Compensation Claim?

Judge gavel, scales of justice and law books in courtAnyone who has had the unfortunate experience of suffering an injury while on the job understands the confusing array of decisions which must be made in the aftermath of such an event. Financial losses can begin to mount almost immediately, and it becomes necessary to determine whether a workers’ compensation claim or a civil lawsuit offers the best opportunity to secure full and fair recovery. Therefore, it makes good sense for injured workers to gain a strong understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of each option in order to make a truly informed choice about their family’s future.

Important facts about workers’ comp claims in California

As is the case in most areas of the country, the California legislature has seen fit to provide key safeguards for workers who sustain serious harm that is directly related to the performance of their job. This workers’ compensation framework provides victims of workplace injuries a method of receiving financial benefits regardless of fault as a means to pay for essential medical treatment, a portion of wages lost as a result of the event and other limited types of payments. Individuals opting to receive compensation under the program do so in exchange for the right to sue their employer for any negligence thought to have contributed to the injury.

Limitations of relying solely on workers’ compensation

There can be no doubt about the fact that workers’ compensation payments have served as a crucial lifeline for those who have been hurt on the job, though the system is not always sufficient in the assistance it provides to certain types of claimants. Workers’ compensation does not offer recovery for emotional distress or physical pain, often substantial types of losses which can in fact be obtained by filing a civil suit against an at-fault party. Furthermore, because of predetermined benefit schedules, some claimants may never receive the true amount of coverage necessary to stay financially afloat.

Civil litigation as an alternative to workers’ compensation in L.A.

If it appears unlikely that a workers’ compensation claim will yield an appropriate financial recovery in a given circumstance, injury victims may consider filing a civil lawsuit as a way to maximize available settlement or award funds. While going this route will require the victim to prove fault, the potential upside is generally far greater than that in a no-fault workers’ compensation claims scenario.

It should also be noted that there may be instances in which an injury victim will be permitted to pursue a workers’ compensation claim as well as civil litigation, not against his or her employer, but against a third party whose negligence helped cause the harm suffered. Targets of such a lawsuit could include:

  • Public utility companies
  • Subcontractors
  • Heavy equipment manufacturers
  • Commercial vehicle operators
  • Tool manufacturers
  • External architects, project managers, developers and engineers

Dedicated advocacy for injured workers in Los Angeles

For well over a decade, the Salamati Law Firm has provided the compassionate yet aggressive client service injury victim need and deserve. Because every workplace accident is distinct in its own right, we undertake a customized approach to each matter in order to develop a strategy tailored to secure every dollar of available compensation.

Southern California personal injury attorney Sean Salamati understands the burdensome financial challenges that emerge following a serious injury accident and accepts cases on a contingency basis. Thus, victims and their families will owe no legal fees unless and until our firm secures a beneficial outcome on their behalf. If you would like to discuss the facts of your workplace injury and learn more about your legal options, contact us today.

Workers’ compensation and civil lawsuit resources

  1. State of California Department of Industrial Relations, I was injured at work, http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/InjuredWorker.htm
  2. State of California Department of Industrial Relations, Workers’ Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers, https://www.dir.ca.gov/InjuredWorkerGuidebook/InjuredWorkerGuidebook.html
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