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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

What Happens When Workers’ Compensation Isn’t Enough?


Becoming injured at work is never ideal, but it happens to many workers in California every year. Because all employers in California are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, nearly all workers are eligible to receive benefits when they become injured at work.

While it can happen to anyone, employees who work as roofers, truck drivers, or in the agricultural industry are particularly susceptible to severe danger. Accidents can happen in all sorts of ways, but their consequences are often the same: Someone has new medical debt because of their work injury and can’t afford it on their own. They could be out of work for several weeks or months while they recover, complicating their financial situation as they are no longer earning income or at a reduced capacity.

This is the importance of workers’ compensation in a nutshell, but what if the benefits someone receives aren’t enough?

Third-Party Liability

If a workers’ compensation claim isn’t covering the full economic impact of someone’s work injuries, they may wonder if it’s possible to sue their employers. Unfortunately, this is often not possible because employers carry workers’ compensation insurance in exchange for potential liability in an employee’s personal injury lawsuit.

In other words, because workers’ compensation exists, most employees can’t sue their employers for injuries that occurred at work.

This, however, doesn’t mean it’s not impossible to hold someone else accountable for what happened. In many cases, a workplace injury involves someone who is not affiliated with a worker’s employer and could quite literally be anyone else. Such an individual – or entity – is known as a third party.

Examples of third parties include the following:

  • Another driver who caused a collision
  • A company that produced a defective product that caused injury
  • A property owner who failed to maintain safe conditions on their land

If a third-party’s negligence is responsible for causing an employee’s injuries, the employee can pursue legal action and recovery for pain and suffering, lost wages, permanent disability or disfigurement, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages not covered by a workers’ compensation claim. If the third party was also at work at the time the accident occurred, it may be possible to hold their employer accountable for what occurred.

How Is Suing a Third Party Different?

Workers’ compensation offered through an employer has limits on the amount of coverage each employee can receive if they become injured. When suing a third party for their negligence, however, there is no such limit. As long as it can be proven that the third party’s reckless or negligent behavior caused the accident, then the employee may be able to recover the full compensation needed.

If you need assistance with either a workers’ compensation claim or holding a third party accountable in a personal injury lawsuit, reach out to Smolich and Smolich for assistance. Our firm has helped many people like you recover the financial compensation they needed after an accident at work left them with new medical bills, lost wages, and other financial problems.

For more information about our services and how we may be able to assist you, schedule a free initial consultation with us today.

Contact Smolich and Smolich online or call us at (916) 571-0400 to get in touch with someone who can help.