Without a doubt, many California workers who experience injuries from accidents and dangerous conditions on the job feel immense amounts of pain and suffering in the days, weeks, months, and even years following their injury. But just because you experience pain and suffering does not necessarily mean you can win compensation for that pain and suffering on top of your medical costs and lost income in a lawsuit. In fact, California employers will often do everything they can to avoid paying pain and suffering damages by routing your claim through the workers’ compensation system, but there are situations in which those who suffer workplace injuries may nevertheless pursue pain and suffering damages.
What You Get in a Workers’ Compensation Claim
Under California law, most workers who suffer an injury on the job are required to pursue claims against their employers pursuant to the state workers’ compensation system. The upside of this is that workers can pursue such claims without having to go through a challenging process of proving fault, but the downside is that workers’ compensation recoveries are limited to your medical costs and a portion of your lost income. No matter how much pain and suffering you might feel from your injuries, you are unable to pursue a claim against an employer for those damages in a workers’ compensation action.
When You Can Sue for Pain and Suffering
That said, there are situations in which a worker might be able to pursue a claim in negligence, outside of the workers’ compensation, against their employer and others, and thus they might be able to pursue lifetime pain and suffering damages in such a claim (as well as the full cost of lost income and reduced earning potential, not just a portion).
These situations include workplace accidents where an employer or a fellow employee acted recklessly or intentionally in injuring you, as in the case of a physical assault or reckless behavior on the job. Furthermore, you may be able to bring a civil claim against your employer when it failed to meet its requirements under the workers’ compensation laws, including failing to maintain insurance or respond to your claim.
Additionally, you may be able to pursue a civil claim against third parties other than your employer (which can include claims for pain and suffering) if the third party injured you, such as where you are injured by a defective product or the actions of another party who injured you on the job.
Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys in the Inland Empire
At McCune Wright Arevalo, our personal injury team – led by by partner Cory Weck, a Marine Corps officer with over 20 years of service to his country and 15 years of experience litigating personal injury cases – has repeatedly won verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients across the Inland Empire in the millions of dollars. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys to determine whether you may have a civil claim for a workplace injury.