Is Workers’ Comp My Only Option If I’m Injured At Work?
If you ever suffer a serious injury at work, you may wonder what options are available to help pay your medical bills and cover your lost wages. The first option you should always consider, of course, is a workers’ compensation claim.
However, while workers’ comp is typically your exclusive source of benefits following a work-related injury, it is important to keep in mind that, under certain circumstances, other remedies may also exist, including:
- Compensation for third-party claims: Even though workers’ compensation is normally your only remedy if your employer or a co-worker injures you, you may have other options if your injury is actually caused by a third party. For instance, if you are injured by a negligent motorist while driving for work, you may be able to bring a third-party claim against that driver. Other circumstances may also give rise to a third-party claim, which is why you should always contact a lawyer if you have questions.
- Compensation for serious and willful misconduct by an employer: If your employer’s serious or willful misconduct leads to your work-related injury, then he or she may be responsible for paying you an amount equal to one-half of all of your workers’ comp benefits combined, including your disability, vocational rehab and medical benefits. Importantly, your employer cannot use insurance to cover this type of liability ― meaning he or she must pay it directly.
- Compensation for discrimination against workers injured on the job: California Labor Code Section 132a expressly states that an employer cannot fire, threaten to fire or discriminate against you in any way simply because you have filed or intend to file a workers’ compensation claim. If your employer violates this law, you may be entitled to increased compensation of $10,000 or half of your combined benefits, whichever is less.
While the remedies above may apply to your situation, proving it is often easier said than done. However, having an experienced and dedicated attorney by your side can help improve your chances of successfully navigating these often confusing laws.
Schedule Your Free Consultation Today
To discuss your legal options following a serious work accident, contact the lawyers at The Law Office of Gary C. Nelson. Schedule your free consultation by calling our Modesto office at 209-222-4089, or you can email us online.