Depending on the sort of job you have, you may be in more danger of getting hurt from doing your work tasks, or most vulnerable of injury at the hands of a negligent third party.
The difference matters under California law. Due to a rule called the workers’ compensation remedy rule, the source of a worker’s injury affects whether he or she can sue for personal injury as well as receive workers’ comp benefits.
According to the remedy rule, in California if a worker is injured during the course and scope of his or her employee, in general workers’ compensation is the sole remedy allowed. The worker cannot choose to sue the employer.
However, if a third party is at least partly responsible for your injuries, you may have the option of suing that party while also seeking workers’ comp. For example, say you are working in a road construction crew when a distracted driver hits you. You may be eligible to sue the driver on top of your workers’ compensation.
Among other things, this gives you the chance to get financial compensation for things that workers’ compensation does not cover, like the pain and suffering you experienced.
However, the law does not allow litigation if the third party is actually a “secondary” or “host” employer. Identifying whether or not you are allowed to sue a negligent third party can be tricky at times, but an experienced workers’ compensation attorney can help you decide the best course of action to get the compensation you are entitled to.
Source: San Francisco Examiner, “Trapped by the workers’ compensation remedy rule,” Christopher B. Dolan, June 9, 2016