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Worker’s compensation or a personal injury lawsuit: can I pursue both?

If you have become injured during your duties at work, you may be entitled to compensation. There are typically two routes to pursue: the first is worker’s compensation, and the second is a personal injury lawsuit. These options differ greatly, and your personal circumstances will largely dictate which is the best option for you.

Understanding worker’s compensation

Worker’s compensation is a form of insurance that is designed to compensate those who become injured while on the job. San Diego businesses with multiple employees are required to purchase worker’s compensation insurance by law. This insurance is designed to cover claims made for worker’s compensation, which can include costs for medical treatment and lost earnings as a result of sustaining a work-related injury.

Filing for worker’s compensation

Injured employees are not required to show fault to file for worker’s compensation. If an employee has been injured at work, it does not matter whether the employer, employee or a third-party caused the injury. This can naturally be a bone of contention for some employers, but the law is the law and injured employees are entitled to make a claim – it’s that simple.

What worker’s compensation covers

Worker’s compensation in San Diego can be used to cover the following:

• Medical bills
• Rehabilitation (such as physiotherapy)
• Lost wages
• Permanent partial disability (PPD)
• Permanent total disability (PTD)

If you’ve been injured at work and are on good terms with your employer, or your employer accepts that they are at fault, it could be good practice to accept worker’s compensation. However, you may be entitled to more than your employer’s compensation scheme is willing to pay out. If you feel like you may be getting a rough deal, perhaps it is time to speak to a personal injury lawyer in San Diego to find out what your alternative options are.

When to file a personal injury lawsuit

A personal injury lawsuit involves filing legal action in court to seek compensation for an injury. To file a personal injury lawsuit, the injury has to have been caused by someone else’s negligence. Some personal injury cases take place in front of a jury, while others are settled before a trial even takes place.

Filing a personal injury lawsuit is much different to claiming worker’s compensation. In San Diego, the victim will be required to serve at an at-fault party with a lawsuit. The at-fault party (your employer) will be given an opportunity to file their own records with the court.

Additional records could be requested, and depositions will be conducted in preparation for a trial. At this point, your employer may be willing to settle privately, prior to the case arriving at court.

Can I pursue a personal injury lawsuit AND worker’s compensation?

Worker’s compensation law prevents employees of a company from filing a lawsuit against their employer in the event of sustaining an injury at work. Put simply, you cannot receive worker’s compensation and then sue your employer – even if they were at fault for your injury.

However, it IS possible to file a personal injury lawsuit against a third-party in addition to claiming worker’s compensation, if your injury was sustained through the fault of a third-party.

Let’s take an example of a delivery driver. During their daily delivery round, the delivery driver’s van is struck by another driver who runs a red light. This causes the delivery driver to experience a bad case of whiplash, which puts them out of work for weeks, or perhaps even months.

The delivery driver is on good terms with their employer and can claim worker’s compensation. However, the driver can also file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who was at fault.

What to do next?

If you’ve been injured at work and would like to know what steps to take, why not get in contact with Guy Levy Law? Our friendly and experienced team is ready to discuss your accident and provide you with the help and advice you need to secure the compensation you deserve.

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