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San Jose Work Injury Attorney

No one goes to work expecting to come home with injuries – or not to come home at all. Yet thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because of work-related injuries and illnesses. Some workplace injuries are accidents, where no one is really to blame. Others stem from acts of negligence, such as an employer improperly training employees or failing to maintain the premises. After a serious work-related injury, come to Henshaw Law Office to talk to a San Jose work injury attorney. You may have a personal injury claim on your hands.

Legal Options Beyond Workers’ Compensation

The workers’ compensation system exists to ease the economic burden of a workplace injury. It also exists to provide a measure of job security to an injured worker. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited in scope and rarely cover the full cost of a workplace injury. In some cases, an injured employee may need to consider additional legal remedies beyond workers’ compensation to fully recover from a workplace injury. Filing for workers’ compensation may exclude the possibility of securing additional compensation like punitive damages, so any injured employee should consider his or her options carefully and consult with an attorney before making any decisions about recovery.

Negligence as Grounds for Filing a Personal Injury Claim at Work

If an injured employee’s supervisor, manager, or employer was negligent in any way that contributed to the employee’s injury, the employee may have grounds for a personal injury claim against the responsible party. For example, an employee notifies his supervisor of a dangerous element or code violation on a construction site and the supervisor acknowledges the complaint but does not take any action to address it or prevent injuries. The next day, another employee sustains a severe injury from the hazard. In this situation, the supervisor was negligent because he or she knew about the hazard, yet did nothing to correct it or prevent injuries.

It is important to remember that workers’ compensation functions as an “exclusive remedy” for a workplace accident. This means an injured employee cannot take legal action against an employer in addition to filing a workers’ compensation claim except under special circumstances. An example of this would be an employer intentionally harming an employee.

An injured employee may also have the option to file a personal injury claim if his or her employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance. If a third party caused the workplace injury, it may be possible to collect workers’ compensation benefits since the injury occurred while performing job duties, and the personal injury claim against the third party would provide additional recovery.

Workplace Injury Statistics

These statistics indicate that workplace accidents are a very real concern for American employees. While some industries like construction, manufacturing, transportation, and public service generally entail a greater risk of workplace injury, the reality is that any employee can face a workplace injury, resulting in significant medical expenses, lost income from time spent in recovery and out of work, and even the possibility of permanent disability.

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claim

Workers’ compensation gives injured workers coverage for medical bills, disability, and partial lost wages with no questions asked, as long as the worker did not cause his or her own injuries. There is no need to prove fault or negligence for these benefits. In exchange, the worker gives up the right to sue the employer. In many situations, a workers’ compensation claim is the best course of action for injured employees. If negligence, recklessness, intent to harm, or an unlawful action contributed to the injuries, however, think twice before filing your workers’ comp claim. A personal injury claim may be a better option.

Talk to our injury attorneys in San Jose to discuss the potential for a personal injury or wrongful death claim after a workplace injury in the Bay Area. Typically, a civil claim will result in greater compensation than a workers’ compensation claim. Injured parties could recover for medical bills, full lost wages, and pain and suffering with a civil claim against a negligent party. A lawsuit could also shed light on dangerous workplace practices, and possibly prevent future workers from suffering the same fate. Contact us to talk with someone about your recent work injury.

Common Hazards in the California Workplace

Every job has potential hazards. Some jobs put workers through more obvious risks, such as careers in construction or the oil and gas industry. Others, however, still pose risks of injury. An office job, for example, could result in repetitive motion injuries such as carpal tunnel syndrome. In fact, repetitive motion injuries are some of the most common we see here at Henshaw Law Office. Workers with these injuries are more likely to retain a qualified San Jose work injury lawyer. These claims can be less straightforward than single-accident injuries. All workplace injury claims, however, can benefit from an attorney’s counsel. The following are common workplace hazards:

Workers can also suffer serious illnesses and diseases from exposure to harmful substances in the workplace. Harmful substances such as asbestos, mold, or bacteria can cause life-long health problems. Note that incurring an injury while performing job-related tasks does not automatically result in a lawsuit against the employer. The injured worker must have proof of someone else’s negligence to take this legal action. If no negligence existed, but the worker still sustained an injury, the worker can instead recover damages through the California workers’ compensation system. Our San Jose injury lawyers can help you decide between the two.