California Workers’ Compensation and Third Party Liability Claims

An injured worker generally cannot file a lawsuit against their employer. Under California law (Labor Code Section § 3600), a workers’ comp claim is an injured employee’s “exclusive remedy” against their company or organization. In exchange, workers are entitled to no-fault benefits. They do not need to prove that their employer did anything wrong to get compensation

That being said, injured workers have every right to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against a negligent third party. These are often referred to simply as ‘third party liabilityclaims. In this blog post, our Fresno workers’ compensation attorney offers a guide to third party liability work injury claims in California

You Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit Directly Against Negligent Third Parties

In some cases, workplace accidents are caused by the careless, reckless, or otherwise irresponsible conduct of a third party. Injured workers always retain the right to file a lawsuit directly against any other defendant besides their employer. Some notable examples of defendants you may be able to hold liable in third party claim include: 

  • Contractors; 
  • Subcontractors; 
  • Property owners;
  • Manufacturers; 
  • Truck companies; and
  • Drivers. 

Third Party Work Injury Claims are Based on Fault 

As noted above, workerscompensation benefits are no-fault. In other words, an injured worker can obtain benefits regardless of whether or not any other party “caused” their accident through wrongful conduct. A third party liability lawsuit is based on fault. To hold a third party legally responsible through a personal injury claim, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s negligent actions or inactions contributed to their injuries. 

Additional Compensation May be Available 

You may be wondering: Why should I file a third party liability claim for a work injuryThe short answer is that additional financial compensation may be granted. If you can prove liability against a negligent third party, such as a contractor or a property owner, you can get money for pain and suffering and other losses. More total compensation may be available. 

It is Not an ‘Either-Or’ Proposition: Still File for Workers’ Comp Benefits 

With workerscompensation claims and third party liability lawsuits, injured employees in Fresno County are not required to choose. You always have the right to file for workers’ comp benefits after an accident. Additionally, even if you file, you still retain the ability to bring a legal claim against a third party. A workers’ comp lawyer can help you determine what steps to take to best protect your rights. 

Call Our Fresno, CA Third Party Liability Work Injury Lawyer for Help

Joseph C. Yrulegui is a workers’ comp lawyer with the skills and legal expertise to handle the full range of third party cases. If you have questions about third party liability claims, we can help. Contact us today for a fully private review of your work injury claim. From our office in Fresno, we handle workers’ comp claims and third party liability claims throughout the region, including in Bakersfield, Clovis, Modesto, Stockton, Merced, Lodi, and Wasco.