If you’ve been injured on the job, or if you suffered an occupational disease or illness, you must fulfill certain eligibility requirements in order to receive workers’ compensation benefits. First, you must be an employee. Then, you must suffer a work-related injury or illness. After that, you’re required to have reported your injury or illness to your employer within the time prescribed by law. For an injury, that notice must be given within 30 days of the date of the injury on a special form that is given to the employer. In the case of an occupational illness or disease, the employee should notify the employer as soon as he or she learns of the illness or disease.
It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to actually sue your employer in a court of law though. As per California law, your sole and exclusive remedy for an injury suffered while on the job is through workers’ compensation benefits. There are very few exceptions to this rule. You’re required to file a claim through the Division of Workers’ Compensation of the California Department of Industrial Relations. If you file an actual personal injury lawsuit, it’s highly likely that a judge will dismiss it and tell you to go file a workers’ compensation claim. By then, it might be too late to file that claim.
California requires every employer to either carry a policy of workers’ compensation insurance or maintain a certificate of self insurance. In the event that your employer turns out to be uninsured, that’s an exception to the general rule. California allows you to sue that employer directly. That lawsuit is even allowed while a workers’ compensation claim is pending. While confronted with those problems, the employer might also face criminal prosecution along with other administrative penalties.
After being injured on the job, don’t file that lawsuit right away. California law restricts you to exhausting any remedies that you might have against your employer by bringing a workers’ compensation claim first. Other alternatives are in place if there is no workers’ compensation insurance.
Contact a Sacramento Workers’ Compensation Attorney
In almost all cases when someone is injured on the job, the worker will get the best possible outcome by hiring an experienced Sacramento workers’ compensation lawyer.
Attorney Alice A. Strömbom focuses exclusively on Workers’ Compensation Law. She is very familiar with the tactics insurance companies use to avoid providing the medical treatment and disability benefits injured workers deserve, and has a recognized track record in combating such issues.
Contact us today for a free, confidential consultation and case evaluation.