Generally, you cannot sue your employer for a workplace injury. An injured worker’s exclusive remedy for a work-related injury is the California Workers’ Compensation System. With rare exceptions, the California Workers’ Compensation Act is the only remedy for work-related injuries.
The California Workers Compensation System is a No-Fault System
The California Workers Compensation system works as a no-fault system. The no-fault system means that when an employee suffers a work-related injury, they are entitled to benefits under the system for their injuries regardless of who was at fault in causing the injury. These cases proceed through an administrative law system in the form of an insurance claim. There is no formal lawsuit or civil action that takes place against the injured workers’ employer or its insurance company.
The rationale for this “no-fault” system of workers compensation is due to the “trade-off” between employees and employers, in which the employee gives up their right to bring civil claims against their employer in exchange for the protection of guaranteed benefits, regardless of who was at fault in causing the injury. This system benefits employees because they are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, even if they were hurt due to their own negligence. And the system benefits employers because they are protected from civil lawsuits filed against them by injured workers.
An administrative law judge hears any disputes regarding workers compensation benefits. Any party involved in the dispute has a right to appeal a decision made by an administrative law judge. Such appeals are reviewed by a seven member board of commissioners who are appointed by the Governor.
Hiring a Workers Compensation Attorney to Handle Your Case
If you have been injured in a work-related accident, you may want to consider hiring a workers compensation attorney to help you with your case from beginning to end. Even if your claim has been accepted or you anticipate that it will be, it is always a good idea to have an experienced workers’ compensation attorney on your side to make sure that all filing deadlines and other issues in your case are addressed quickly and resolved to your satisfaction. Contact the experienced California workers’ compensation attorneys Kneisler & Schondel today to get started on your workers’ compensation case. Work injury claims can be complex, so having knowledgeable attorneys handling your case can be very beneficial.
What if My Employer Does Not Have Workers Compensation Insurance – Am I Able to Sue My Employer Under These Circumstances?
California state law requires employers to obtain workers compensation insurance or become self-insured. If an employer fails to obtain workers’ compensation insurance to protect its employees, it does not mean that an employee who is injured on the job has no right to obtain workers compensation benefits. In these situations, the injured worker must pursue the claim for workers compensation benefits against the state of California’s Uninsured Employers Benefits Trust Fund. Unfortunately, this is a very complicated process. Due to the complexities, it is important to hire an attorney to make sure your case is proceeding through the system and being handled properly. There are certain steps that must be taken prior to proceeding with an uninsured case in order to ensure the injured worker is able to obtain the benefits that he or she is due.
The State of California May Pursue Further Charges or Fines against an Employer Who Lacks Workers Compensation Insurance
Additionally, the state of California may pursue reimbursement of costs and fines against an employer for not following the law and having workers compensation insurance in the first place. This is not necessarily a lawsuit or charge that would involve participation by the injured worker. Even out-of-state employers are required to have workers compensation insurance coverage in California if they have employees that are regularly working in California or if any employment contract is entered into within the state of California.
Whether or not your employer has workers compensation insurance, it is always a good idea to hire a workers’ compensation attorney. Having experienced attorneys fighting for your rights can only benefit you. Contact the attorneys of Kneisler & Schondel right away for a consultation regarding your workers compensation claim.