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I am a teamster that was injured on the job. I am thinking about suing not my employer but the customer "the actual work site"

Visalia, CA |

i was injured due to a negligent work condition. the injury resulted in a shoulder surgery, spinal injections, trigger point injections to the neck, and a possiable back surgery. if i sue i could be fired because this is my companys only plant that we deliver to....if so... in california would i be able to collect unemployment benifits? can the plant to be sued say that i cant come onto their property to do my job?

Attorney Answers 4


I recommend you consult a workers' compensation attorney who can advise you regarding the merits of your third party claim. If it is a turkey, you do not want to rock the boat.

After consultation with a WC attorney, consult an employment law attorney. That way you will be fully informed regarding your options.

You can use the "Find a Lawyer" function here on Avvo to locate a qualified attorney in your area. Good luck.

I am licensed in California only and my answers on Avvo assume California law. Answers provided by me are for general information only. They are not legal advice. Answers must not be relied upon. Legal advice must be based on the interplay between specific exact facts and the law. This forum does not allow for the discussion of that interplay. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if that interplay were explored during an attorney-client relationship. I provide legal advice during the course of an attorney-client relationship only. The exchange of information through this forum does not establish such a relationship. That relationship is established only by personal and direct consultation with me followed by the execution of a written attorney-client agreement signed by each of us. The communications on this website are not privileged or confidential and I assume no duty to anyone by my participation on Avvo or because I have answered or commented on a question. All legal proceedings involve deadlines and time limiting statutes. So that legal rights are not lost for failure to timely take appropriate action and because I do not provide legal advice in answer to any question, if you are an interested party you should promptly and personally consult with an attorney for legal advice. Also, see Avvo's terms and conditions of use, specifically item 9, incorporated by this reference

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You have a potential third party case against the customer, so contact an attorney that handles both worker’s comp. and personal injury cases.

Good luck.

DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.

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We don't have enough info about the accident to give you a very complete answer. Having said that, yes, you can sue the customer. Will you win? I don't know.

Will you get fired? Probably not for getting hurt and having a workers' comp case or for having sued the one and only customer of your employer but will you get fired? Probably.

Can you get Unemployment benefits? Depends on the reason given for firing you and whether or not the employer wants to fight with you at E.D.D.

Can you be barred from the property? First, it won't matter if you've been fired. Second, yes they can refuse entrance.

This is all complicated stuff. That's why my colleagues have recommended you consult with an attorney who does both workers' comp and personal injury work. Find a good one here at Good luck.

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You have TWO claims here:
(1) IF THE 'PLANT' owed you a 'duty of care' and actually breached it, and you prove it was the breach of that duty resulting in all the surgery and injections, YES you can sue the plant for those damages.
TROUBLE IS, you didn't pay for those medical bills...the comp carrier already paid all those bills, so the Comp Carrier may already be pursuing an action against this 'Plant'.
You MIGHT get some 'pain & suffering' IF you prove the Plant did something wrong and that wrongdoing is what caused all this need for treatment...

(2) Workers Compensation benefits: sounds like you've already got this, with the shoulder surgery I bet you received Temporary Total Disabilty payments.

IF you cannot return to work for the employer, YOU GET UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE. That will be after the treating doc writes you are 'permanent & stationary' but have some permanent work restrictions.

APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT the day the doctor says 'you're done' and no longer gives you a new appointment... that helps 'inspire' the employer to find a new permanently modified job for you.

NOTE; a comp attorney only gets 15% of the final recovery... so if you have permanent disability totalling around $60,000, the attorney gets just $9,000.

If you get $60,000 in a Civil Personal INjury action, the attorney takes 33% (some get 40%!), so you would lose $20,000.

You can see the comp attorney is a MUCH better bargain!

I've filed claims for my delivery guys... i get the maximum in the comp recovery and get that CLOSED, so the comp carrier cannot 'dig in' and try to take the civil recovery...
....THEN I filed the civil action against the work site for only the part that comp didn't cover: Lost wages past & future, increased health insurance premiums, and pain & suffering.

Those were NOT large settlements, but made the worker feel vindicated that the 'plant' that set them up for injury paid something for their losses.

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