When a California construction worker suffers injuries on the job, in most cases, workers’ compensation insurance covers the cost of medical bills, lost wages and other steps in the recovery process. If the injuries are fatal, the insurer offers death benefits to the family of the victim. Workers’ compensation is a safeguard to provide workers with the benefits they need so they do not have to go through the hassle of a lawsuit to claim compensation. However, there are times when worker injuries may warrant a lawsuit.
In most cases, the proof of fault does not affect whether workers’ compensation insurance pays for an injury. On the other hand, a worker who has proof of any of the following actions by an employer may be able to seek damages from the employer or other entities through the civil courts:
- failing to carry workers’ compensation insurance
- knowingly making employees work around toxic or volatile chemicals or other dangerous substances without warnings or protections
- neglecting to comply with state and federal safety laws, such as the requirement to provide fall protection or warn employees of the potential for asbestos exposure
- intentionally injuring the employee, such as by striking or pushing the employee in a fit of rage
- covering up an employee’s injury or denying that the injury is related to the workplace
An employee may also have a claim against the manufacturer of defective equipment that leads to an injury. An employer who knew about the defect may also hold some culpability. While such legal actions may be complex, the life-changing worker injuries suffered in many construction accidents often demand that the courts hold the responsible party accountable.