Personal Injury Attorneys in California
When an work injury occurs due to the negligence of a different business, homeowner, or government, injured workers may be able to file a personal injury claim with the negligent party’s insurance company. Personal injuries can result from auto accidents, slip and falls, dog bites, and defective products. Pursuing this type of injury claim is fundamentally different than a workers’ compensation claim and typically results in higher levels of compensation. It is possible to pursue both claims at the same time.
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Personal Injury vs. Work Injury
Every injury is technically, by definition, a personal injury. The law, however, clarifies that only injuries caused by the negligence of others qualifies under the legal definition of personal injury. Workers’ compensation law restricts further what can be considered a personal injury when an accident occurs at work. For a work injury to be considered a personal injury, a negligent third party must have caused the injury, meaning that neither the worker nor the employer can be considered at fault.
When a Work Injury is also a Personal Injury
Only under certain circumstances would a work injury be eligible for third-party injury litigation. Most work injuries are not caused by a third party and are not eligible for concurrent workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Work injuries that are eligible must meet certain criteria. Most notably, injured workers must be “on the clock” performing work duties and the injury must be caused by the negligence of someone or something unaffiliated with their company. Some common scenarios that can lead to third-party liability claims include:
- A shuttle driver rear-ended at a stop light
- A package delivery employee bitten by a dog while dropping off a package
- A machinist injured when a tool unexpectedly breaks
- An auditor tripping over an unexpected hazard at a client’s office
- An office worker sent tumbling after his or her chair breaks
Pursuing Both Types of Claims
It is possible to pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party liability injury claim at the same time. There are benefits to doing so. Workers’ compensation benefits provide immediate medical treatment without the hassle of medical billing. Personal injury claims typically result in more compensation for the injury victim. However, it must be noted that double-dipping is not allowed. If a third party is responsible for your injury at work, your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance company is not responsible for your injuries. If the workers’ comp insurance company provides medical benefits, those benefits will be reimbursed from your personal injury settlement in a legal process called subrogation.
Work Injury Law Firm
Since 1984, the Law Offices of Scott Warmuth has been helping its clients seek the maximum possible compensation for both work injuries and personal injuries. Our dedicated team can help injured workers with their third-party liability claims. If you have been injured at work, we can help you with your claim.