Worker’s compensation is a state mandated insurance program that provides employees compensation for work related illnesses and injuries. While the federal government has its own federal worker’s compensation program for its employees, each state is has its own laws and programs for state and privately employed individuals. Typically states award workers’ compensation to the injured regardless of who is at fault, the employee, the employer, fellow workers or a random third party. However, in exchange for these guaranteed benefits, workers agree to forgo the right to sue the employer in court for injuries sustained at their workplace.
What does Workers Comp Cover?
Worker’s comp doesn’t cover all on the job injuries. If you were using illegal drugs or alcohol at the time of your injury, it is unlikely you will be rewarded much, if any compensation. It is also extremely difficult to recover compensation if the injury was the result of a fight that you started, if the injury occurred while you were committing a serious crime, if you sustained an injury while not at your workplace, and if you sustained injury while you were in violation or violating company policy.
Also note: worker’s compensation cases are increasingly compromised by the claimant’s social media postings. If you want a successful case, be mindful of how a jury will react to whatever you put online. It is unwise to demonstrate that you are capable of full bodily function if you are claiming compensation for a debilitating injury. If you did actually sustain a real injury, act like it.
When can you Sue your Employer in Court for a work-related injury?
There are many instances in which you can bypass worker’s compensation in order to fully sue your employer for damages. Those situations include:
- If you were hurt by a defective product
- If you became ill or injured after exposure to a toxic substance
- If you were injured directly because of your employers unintentional, or intentional actions
- If your employer does not carry workers’ compensation
What are my employer’s responsibilities under worker’s compensation law in California?
Under California law, an employer is required to either obtain workers’ compensation insurance or qualify to become self insured (the employer collects premiums and pays the fees for their employees medical claims themselves). In the event of injury, they must handle the filing of your claim themselves, and should be prepared to authorize up to 10,000 in payment for your medical treatment within one day of receiving your claim.
If you have any specific questions, be sure to ask your state’s worker’s compensation office. However, this is not a comprehensive resource for your worker’s compensation case; experienced, proven attorneys are essential in any successful workers’ compensation litigation.
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