Uninsured Employer Cases: In the State of California, all employers are required to provide workers’ compensation insurance for their employees under California Workers’ Compensation Law. If an employer is not insured and a worker is injured while on the job, then the employer can be sued by the employee for civil damages and also claim workers’ compensation benefits.
Discrimination: If you have filed a claim for workers’ compensation benefits, California law protects you against any retaliation or discrimination taken against you by your employer. Employers who retaliate against an employee face penalties such as reinstatement, lost wages, and fines up to $10,000. Any claim for discrimination will most likely be reviewed by a workers’ compensation judge.
Intentional Injuries: If the worker’s injuries are a result of an intentional act by the employer, then the employee may sue in civil court in addition to claiming benefits for workers’ compensation.
Third Party Cases: Typically under California Law, an employee cannot sue an employer for civil damages related to a work injury. However, if a third party, someone other than an employer, is the cause of the injury, then the injured worker may have a civil claim in addition to a workers’ compensation benefits claim. As an example, if you are walking across the street making a delivery for your employer and you were hit in the crosswalk by a drunk driver, you may have a claim against the drunk driver in addition to receiving benefits from workers’ compensation.
Social Security Disability: You might be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits if you have paid sufficient payments into your Social Security account, and are disabled for more than a year. In order to qualify, you need to show that you are disabled from all gainful employment. Such claims will most often require a hearing before the Social Security Administrative Law judges.
State Disability: State Disability through the Employment Development Department is of particular importance. Many people are eligible for full or supplemental benefits through State Disability when the workers' compensation carrier refuses, cuts off, or reduces their income checks.
Reasonable Accommodation: An employer must provide reasonable accommodation to an injured or disabled worker, as mandated by the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), as long as the accommodation does not cause “undue hardship” on the part of the employer. If the employer will not make modifications to accommodate the injured worker, allowing the return to work, the worker then may sue in civil court under the FEHA or ADA in some circumstances.
Serious and Willful Misconduct: In the State of California, Workers’ Compensation Law does not allow the injured worker to sue their employer, however, if the injury was the result of willful and serious misconduct of the employer, additional penalties may apply against the employer. This can occur if the employer had advance notice of a dangerous condition that lead to the injury but did not do anything to fix the situation. Also, if an employer violates California Safety Orders which caused the work injury, then willful and serious misconduct may also be found.
Mr. Shoemaker is one of a select few attorneys recognized as a workers’ compensation certified specialist from the State Bar of California. For more specific information regarding your specific workers’ compensation benefits matter, schedule a FREE consultation with an attorney today by calling our San Francisco law office at (415) 463-5310, or our Vallejo office at (707)-552-1000, or simply fill out our online form today.
We help clients throughout the Bay Area in Northern California.
Authored by Scot D. Shoemaker