Being injured at work is something that nobody ever hopes will happen. For some people, having to go through the lengthy and complicated process of filing for workers’ compensation makes these individuals averse to even begin to take such steps.
Some people might decide that they want to file a lawsuit instead of going through the workers’ compensation system. While this might seem like a good idea, it might not be possible. Here are some points to know about work-related injuries and illnesses, workers’ compensation and lawsuits:
Employers purchase workers’ compensation insurance so that the company doesn’t have to come out of pocket to pay for the expenses related to an employee’s injury. This is considered a normal cost of running a business in California, so the payments for the premiums can’t be passed on to workers. No employee in California has to pay for his or her own workers’ compensation coverage.
If you are injured at work or become ill due to the work environment, workers’ compensation will cover your medical care that is obtained within the guidelines of the program. If you can’t return to work right away or have to work reduced hours, the coverage will pay partial wage replacement to you. Other benefits are also possible, depending on the circumstances of the injury or illness.
Workers who are injured at work and need workers’ compensation benefits should find out what benefits are available to them. In some cases, you might have to fight for the benefits that you are due. This could involve filing appeals. Appeals have to be filed within a specific period of time after the notice is sent, so make sure that you read all paperwork you receive that’s related to the claim.
The only time that you can sue someone if you are injured at work is if the injury was caused by a third-party issue. One example is if a piece of equipment malfunctions. In this case, you would be able to file a claim for compensation against the manufacturer of the equipment.
Typically, you can’t file a lawsuit against your employer. A lawsuit would essentially defeat the purpose of the employers purchasing workers’ compensation insurance policies.
In certain cases, you might be able to seek coverage from workers’ compensation and file a third-party lawsuit. You should remember that you might have to repay some or all of the benefits that you received from workers’ compensation if your lawsuit is successful.