While workers' compensation cases involve a worker and his or her employer's insurance adjusters, certain workplace injuries can be attributed to third parties such as manufacturers of faulty equipment and negligent drivers. The attorneys at Smith & Batlaxe, LLC in San Francisco, CA, only handle workers' compensation cases, but when third-party negligence is a factor in your injury, they can enlist the help of a personal injury lawyer who can help you file a civil suit. To schedule your free consultation, please contact us online or call (415) 292-7800.
Workers' Compensation versus Personal Injury Cases
There are key differences between a workers' compensation case and a personal injury case:
- Workers' compensation cases require no proof of fault. This means that even if you are at least partially responsible for your injury, you may be eligible for compensation. In personal injury claims, proof of fault is the single most important factor in determining whether you collect damages.
- Personal injury attorneys will refer you to specific physicians whom they trust. Workers' compensation claims require that you receive initial treatment from designated physicians. However, our attorneys can direct you to a designated physician whom they trust to have your best interests in mind.
- Workers' compensation claims are forfeited if you choose to sue your employer. However, if you believe your work injury resulted from negligence on the part of someone other than yourself and your employer, you may have grounds for a concurrent personal injury suit.
The surest way to know whether you should pursue a claim beyond workers' compensation is to meet with a workers' compensation attorney.
When to File Both Types of Claims
There are several factors that may place filing both a workers' compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit in your best interest:
- The malfunction of a faulty piece of equipment you must use on the job, such as a tool or a component of a work vehicle.
- An intentional act of malice on the part of a co-worker.
- The presence of a substance essential to your work function that is found to be toxic.
- A negligent act on the part of a motorist that results in an injury while you are performing work duties.
- A slip and fall accident that occurs in a location such as a hotel that you must occupy as part of a work function.
What Should I Do?
The surest way to know whether you should pursue a claim beyond workers' compensation is to meet with a workers' compensation attorney. Bernhard Baltaxe is a certified specialist in workers' compensation claims, and Byron Smith has helped many injured workers to collect maximum benefits. During a free consultation, our attorneys can review the circumstances of your injury to determine if third-party negligence may have been a contributing factor.
If they believe you have grounds to file a lawsuit concurrent to your workers' compensation claim without jeopardizing the benefits at stake, our attorneys can refer you to a trusted personal injury lawyer. He or she can begin gathering the evidence necessary to prove fault and help you collect the compensation necessary to recuperate following an injury. In personal injury cases, you may be eligible not only for compensatory damages that cover losses such as medical expenses and property damage, but also for punitive damages, which are jury awards intended to punish the negligent party.
Schedule Your Consultation
Bernhard Baltaxe and Byron Smith believe in upholding workers' rights and helping clients to overcome the often devastating losses that can result from on-the-job injuries. If they believe you have grounds for a civil suit in addition to your workers' compensation claim, they can recommend a personal injury attorney whom they trust to help you collect due restitution. We can also help if you are the survivor of a worker killed in a workplace accident. Contact us today to schedule your free case review.