Can You Sue If You Accept Workers’ Comp?
If you accept workers’ compensation, then whether you can sue depends on your situation. You generally can’t sue your employer. However, if a third party caused your injuries, then you could sue for damages––even if you accept workers’ compensation.
If you want to sue in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim, you can partner with a lawyer from KJT Law Group. An attorney from our team can explain your rights and how to proceed.
You Can Sue if You Accept Workers’ Compensation
Here’s what to know about suing and pursuing workers’ compensation.
If you are injured at work while performing job-related tasks, your employer must offer workers’ compensation to cover your losses. Benefits may include:
- Medical care
- Two-thirds of your average weekly wage
- Temporary disability benefits
- Permanent disability benefits
- Supplemental job displacement benefits
- Death benefits
Many covered employees are surprised to learn that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover the full cost of their income. It also doesn’t include compensation for pain, suffering, and other non-economic damages. To recoup those losses, you would have to file a claim against a third party that isn’t your employee. However, you must have evidence to show that their negligence led to your injuries.
You Generally Can’t Sue Your Employer
Workers’ compensation exists to protect both the employee and the employer. If you receive workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot then sue your employer. Yet, in some situations, you could. For instance, if your employer acted with egregious negligence or purposefully intended to injure you, you could have the basis of a third-party claim or lawsuit.
You could also sue if your employer did not carry the mandated workers’ compensation coverage. Per the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR), every company in California must carry insurance––even if there’s only one employee.
You Have a Limited Time to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit
Personal injury lawsuits have different filing deadlines than workers’ compensation claims. The DIR notes that you have 30 days from the date of the incident to notify your employer. Per the California Courts, you generally have two years to file a personal injury lawsuit.
Time is truly of the essence when it comes to your legal matters. If you miss the deadline for notifying your employer or filing a personal injury lawsuit, you could lose the right to damages. When you partner with a lawyer, they can manage your case’s filing deadlines and other obligations.
Compensable Losses in a Personal Injury Lawsuit
As noted, a workers’ compensation claim only covers certain damages, like your medical bills and a portion of your lost income. That’s why some people hurt by negligence choose to file third-party liability claims—to bridge the gap, so to speak.
Compensable losses through a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Medical expenses, including surgeries, medications, and physical therapy
- Lost income, tips, bonuses, and benefits
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Pain and suffering and inconvenience
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Mental anguish
- Property damage expenses (if applicable)
You could also recover the cost of anything you spent out of pocket because of your condition. For instance, if you had to see a specialist that was located far away from your home, you could seek recovery for transportation costs.
You Could Benefit From Partnering With an Injury Lawyer
If you want to sue a third party, then you could benefit from having a lawyer working on your behalf. They will ensure that you continue to receive workers’ compensation benefits while you wait to have your lawsuit settled. They can also:
Gather the Evidence Needed for Your Case
You need evidence to have a successful personal injury and/or workers’ compensation claim. Your lawyer can find and use the following information to bolster your case:
- Eyewitness testimony
- The accident report
- Information from your healthcare provider
- Your medical treatment records
- Photos and videos of the accident scene (or the accident itself)
- Receipts for any related damages
File Your Case
Whether you’re filing a workers’ compensation claim, personal injury lawsuit, or both, you could entrust your case’s obligations to a lawyer. They can do more than file your case within the appropriate deadline; they can also:
- Review all paperwork for completion and accuracy
- Notify your employer of the incident
- Handle communications with the liable insurance company
- Represent you at any hearings
- Advocate for financial justice
Promote Your Legal Goals on a Contingency-Fee Basis
It costs you nothing out of pocket to partner with a workers’ compensation lawyer. That’s because they work on contingency, meaning they charge nothing upfront to start your case. Getting their attorney’s fees is contingent on your case’s outcome. Many lawyers also offer free consultations where you can ask questions and learn more about your legal options.
Explain Your Next Steps
There are many hidden pitfalls in personal injury and workers’ compensation cases. A single misstep could jeopardize your right to compensation. However, with a lawyer, they can ensure every step you take promotes your case’s outcome. They may recommend:
- Taking photos of any external injuries
- Notifying your employer of the incident
- Consulting with your lawyer before accepting a settlement
- Refusing to give a recorded statement
- Being mindful of what you share about the incident online
In addition to explaining what comes next for your case, they can also keep you updated on your case’s progression.
Contact a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Today
Workers’ compensation claims can be complicated. You may wonder how you are going to pay for your bills, what damages you are entitled to, and what goes into securing fair compensation. Here’s some good news, however: if another party’s negligence caused your injuries at work, you could sue and accept workers’ compensation. You shouldn’t have to pay out of pocket for an accident and injuries you didn’t cause. To explore your legal rights with a member of our legal team, call KJT Law Group at (818) 507-8525.