Construction accidents pose a unique challenge for California Workers' Compensation attorneys. There are so many different places that workers can get injured at a construction site. Generally, there is more than one type of contractor working at a job site and this can cause serious problems. Without proper communication between the various subs at a job, people are at risk. We have represented dozens, if not hundreds, of injured construction workers. Understanding not only the California Workers' Compensation System, but also how a construction site operates, is a very important factor in maximizing a work comp claim for a construction worker. Very often, when a construction worker is injured on the job site, a full review of what happened is important to understand if there is a third-party responsible for the injury. This would be a personal injury case outside of the scope of the Workers' Compensation claim.
What happens if there's a third party case?
Navigating the waters of a Workers' Compensation claim and a third-party claim is never easy. Once both claims are filed (generally one in the Workers' Compensation Court and one (or more) in the Civil Court, everyone starts pointing fingers at each other. In California, you can only go after your own employer for Workers' Compensation benefits. As the injury happened at work, you are entitled to benefits. However, if there is another party at fault, such as another contractor on the job site, you can go after them in the civil court. Civil suits have different types of recovery from Workers' Compensation recovery. In Workers' Compensation claims you are not entitled to Pain and Suffering which you are entitled to in a Civil claim. Furthermore, if it is proven that the third-party is at fault and not your own employer, the Workers' Compensation insurance may have the right to subrogate against the third-party's insurance.
These issues can be further complicated by the fact that many smaller contractors hire short-term employees and call them independent contractors, and many don't have any workers' compensation insurance at all!
Do Personal Injury attorneys and Workers' Compensation attorneys work together on your case?
As these cases move forward, it is important for the Workers' Compensation attorney and the personal injury attorney to work together to try to resolve all claims at the same time. Getting a Global Settlement in these cases is crucial, complicated and incredibly challenging. It is not easy getting all the parties together at the same time and even harder to get them on the same page. Once this finally happens, your attorneys must be in agreement about how best to move forward and how to negotiate.
Construction accident claims are some of the most complex and difficult types of Workers' Compensation cases there are. If you have been hurt in a construction accident, make sure to choose a Workers' Compensation law firm that has experience with construction accident Workers' Compensation. A good Workers' Compensation lawyer makes all the difference for your construction accident claim.