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Through California's Worker's Compensation Laws injured employees are able to recover from the limited benefits of their employer's insurance. But what happens in cases where an employee has sustained an on-the-job injury caused by someone other than the employer? Simply put, in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, the injured employee may sue this third party (i.e., other person or entity) in tort law. Third party cases may fall into categories such as traffic accidents, slip & fall incidents, defective products, defective equipment or the exposure to toxic substances and any number of other situations.
If a worker suffers a significant injury, it is highly probable that they will not receive sufficient funds from a workers' compensation claim because workers’ compensation claims are not based upon fault whereas tort claims are based on fault and include monetary compensation for pain and suffering. Therefore, pursuing claims against a negligent third party is critical to ensure maximum compensation for injuries or death.
Every on-the-job injury should be evaluated by an experienced attorney to determine if a third party claim exists.
The personal injury component of a workers’ compensation claim is oftentimes overlooked.
The attorney handling the third party portion of the claim must work closely with the workers’ compensation attorney as well as with the workers’ compensation insurance carrier because of the unique legal issues presented in these situations.