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In California, a wide variety of occupations may expose employees to injury risk throughout the course of their work. As such, the state requires employers to provide workers’ compensation benefits for employees who are injured on the job, whether those injuries were the fault of the employer, the employee, or a third party. However, as an employee, your eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits does not mean that you cannot also file a personal injury claim against a third party. In fact, in many severe workplace accident cases, it is necessary to pursue a liability lawsuit in order to receive full compensation for the extent of your damages.

When Is a Third-Party Personal Injury Lawsuit Possible?

You may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit if you suffered an injury during the course of your work, and that injury was caused by the negligence of someone other than you or your employer. A few examples of work-related injury situations that may involve third-party liability include:


San Jose workplace accident lawyerAfter sustaining an injury while at work, it often becomes difficult, if not impossible, to continue employment. Without working, there is no paycheck and without that income, daily bills start to accrue. Let us not forget that in addition to those monthly dues there now is the added necessity for visits for medical professionals. Many often stress about making ends meet after an injury. Following a workplace injury at the fault of someone else, the negligent party should be held responsible.  

Understand the Difference

Understanding the various options for claims is the best way to begin the recovery process. There are two potential routes to pursue. The best solution for you is dependent on the circumstances of the incident. The two options available are:


In some professions employees accept that a work injury could occur - but that doesn't mean that precautions shouldn't be taken. Construction workers, for instance, can suffer injuries at a higher rate than individuals in other professions. Factory workers are often at risk as well, and power equipment accidents and injuries can leave workers hospitalized. That appears to be what happened in recent incident at a factory in nearby Fremont.

According to a recent report, a serious incident at a Tesla Motors factory left three workers with injuries. The report indicates that a metal casting press apparently malfunctioned, and as a result hot liquid metal spilled out and burned the employees. All three employees were taken to a medical facility for treatment, and two of them reportedly had to stay overnight.

Occupations that involve the use of heavy machinery and power equipment are obviously more dangerous than those in which a person simply sits behind a desk and types on a computer all day. Interestingly enough, however, when an injury occurs due to a workplace accident it might not matter at all what the injured person's occupation was - all that matters is that the employee should be entitled to compensation, especially if the employer failed to take the proper precautions to prevent injuries. Workers' compensation is usually available to employees who cannot return to work because of an injury at work.


When a Santa Clara County resident suffers an injury at work, several immediate concerns arise. First, seeking medical attention for the work injury is paramount, regardless of the severity. Next, the timetable for recovering from the injury should be established. But, not to be forgotten, is determining how a worker's employment situation will be addressed in the aftermath of the workplace accident.

How an employer reacts to an employee's onsite work injury is important. While some employers may be more understanding of a workplace injury - like, say, construction accidents, where workers are dealing with heavy equipment and accidents are, unfortunately, common - other employers may not be so understanding of an injured employee's situation. Some employers may not want to be known for having a worksite where a dangerous accident occurred, and they will attempt to keep things quiet. But, according to a recent article, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration may have different thoughts on the matter.

According to the article, OSHA is contemplating a major change in employer practices, whereby an employer must electronically file reports of workplace accidents and illnesses. The big change? These reports would be open to the public.


Many of our Santa Clara County readers are probably getting excited about the new stadium being constructed for the San Francisco 49ers. The project has been moving along quite steadily, with an eye toward a completion date in July of 2014. Unfortunately, projects of this magnitude are seldom completed without a few construction accidents along the way. That was the case recently, when a worker on the site was crushed by a bundle of rebar.

According to the reports, this workplace accident occurred on the morning of October 14. The employee, a 60-year-old male, was unloading the bundle from a truck when it fell on him. The man was said to have suffered serious injuries, and he later died at the hospital. The man's employer, as well as the San Francisco 49ers, subsequently released statements about the man's death.

Although an initial investigation by local law enforcement authorities came to the conclusion that the incident was an accident, safety inspectors were expected to complete a more extensive investigation into the cause of the man's death. Oftentimes "accidents" on a worksite are actually more directly attributable to equipment failures or negligence on the part of another employee. This recent incident is even more unfortunate in light of the fact that it is the second deadly accident on the stadium project this year. Another employee died in early June as well. An investigation into that accident did not show any negligence on the part of another party.

Tagged in: Workplace accident

Bakersfield, California witnessed the implosion of a 1940s power plant recently but the widespread injuries from the implosion have two state agencies investigating the incident. The workplace accident left one man critically injured and hurt many other employees.

Both Cal-OSHA and California Public Utilities Commission opened investigations. The commission supervises the Pacific Gas and Electric co., which owns the power plant at issue. Cal-OSHA ensures compliance with public and workplace safety laws.

As with many of these larger demolition jobs, there may be an issue of multiple employers. Jobs, or portions of jobs, are often contracted out and Cal-OSHA plans to focus on one company at a time in order to determine what happened and who might be at fault.

Tagged in: Workplace accident

Working in a labor-intensive field, such as construction, can pose many risks to an employee's health. From straining muscles or sustaining other work-related injury, to being injured by the heavy machinery necessary to perform the work, these kinds of workers face risks every day.

Even work involving driving, rather than more manual labor, can result in deadly accidents. Recently a 49-year-old man from San Jose was killed while working at a quarry in the Cupertino area. It is believed that he was standing behind a tractor when the brakes failed, injuring him. He died at the hospital from his injuries. Investigators are continuing to look into the cause, including the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office and the mining and tunneling unit of Cal-OSHA.

When a tragic workplace accident occurs, workers' compensation often comes into play. Each state has its own workers' compensation laws, which operate to make sure that workers receive certain benefits when they are injured. These laws also set forth who can benefit from workers' compensation. Certain types of employees are generally excluded, such as independent contractors and volunteers.

Tagged in: Workplace accident

While the working conditions throughout the American workforce have greatly improved since the federal government first created the Occupation Health and Safety Administration, many workers continue to work in dangerous professions. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 4,500 workers killed on the job in the U.S. in 2011, with industrial and construction accidents continuing to be the most prevalent

According to a recent news report, a 21-year-old man from Sonoma County, California was recently killed in a fatal workplace accident while working for Thermalsun Glass Products. The employee was allegedly using a cart at the production plant to move multiple large sheets of glass when the cart tipped over and the load of glass toppled onto him. According to a co-worker at Thermalsun Glass, each pane of glass weighed more than 100 pounds.

The 21-year-old worker was crushed to death from the weight of the glass. According to one of the deceased's co-workers, the young man appeared to freeze when the glass began to tip towards him. He had reportedly only been with the glass company for four weeks when he was killed. While Thermalsun Glass Production has not received any safety violations, California state workplace safety regulators are currently investigation the fatal accident.


Working for a public transit authority can involve many risks. The potential for a work injury can rest in any number of areas, given the type and size of the vehicles, and even the need for late night shift to ensure that the vehicles are properly serviced and maintained.

Recently, a VTA employee was killed when he was hit by a bus in the maintenance yard. The 62-year-old man was a 22-year veteran employee who was working his regular late-night shift. He was cleaning and fueling buses when the accident occurred. Another VTA worker was driving the bus that hit and killed the man. After the accident, he was taken to a local hospital, where he died.

Laws vary by state, but many workplace injuries are covered by worker's compensation. When an employee is injured or killed on the job, they may be entitled to those worker's comp benefits. Benefits typically include monetary compensation for replacement income and retaining, as well as medical expenses associated with treatment of the injury and compensation for any injuries that are deemed permanent. In an instance where a worker has been killed in a workplace accident, the surviving family members may be entitled to benefits. However, worker's comp generally does not cover damages for pain and suffering.


Following one's passions can come with many risks, including the uncertainty of whether the pursuit will be successful. Sometimes, that pursuit can also involve physical danger. However, while chasing a dream of working with animals can involve some physical risk, a work injury from an animal can still be a shocking, traumatic and potentially deadly experience.

Recently, a 24-year-old volunteer at a California zoo was killed by a lion while the volunteer was cleaning the enclosure. During the cleaning, the lion was inside its feeding cage so that the animal would be separated from the enclosure. However, investigators believe that it escaped from its cage, allowing it into the enclosure to attack the volunteer. Cal-OSHA is conducting an investigation in whether the intern was performing a task that placed her in danger, as well as whether there was proper instruction to employees about the dangers.

Generally, workers who have been injured in a workplace accident can get workers' compensation to cover their injuries. However, workers' comp statutes in many states exclude volunteers and casual workers from coverage. In a tragic situation such as this one, where a worker is killed in a workplace accident, the surviving family members may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the work place if the death was caused by the negligence of the company or entity.


Many workers, including construction workers and factory workers, face safety risks on the job. Even when factories and plants take all necessary precautions and follow all regulations, workers can still become victim to tragedies such as power equipment accidents and injuries or injuries involving other factory machinery. Any San Jose workplace attorney knows of these dangers.

Such a tragedy recently struck a California tuna processing plant. One employee was killed when he was locked inside the oven that cooks the tuna. The employee was a 62-year-old man who had worked at the tuna processing plant for 6 years. The company did not comment, but one of its competitors stated that it has a standardized procedure when cooking tuna that ensures that no worker is locked inside the oven. The tuna plant involved in this accident has not received any citations from the regulatory body, Cal-OSHA.

Food factories in California have enjoyed a relatively clear safety record in general. According to Cal-OSHA, there were 326 deaths related to workplace accidents in 2010, and of those, eight were in the food industry. However, industries like the construction industry have higher rates of injury and death.


A worker injured on the job can face a number of financial problems. Construction accidents, driving accidents and injuries from defective equipment can leave workers with medical bills and other expenses. The system of workers' compensation insurance is designed to protect workers in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the state from shouldering those high costs on their own.

For anyone who was recently injured or is currently seeking workers' compensation benefits in California, things just got more complicated, however. State legislators overwhelmingly passed a bill that revises the state's system by limiting lawsuits for workplace injuries and increasing disability benefits. Now, anyone injured at work must navigate a new process to in order to find financial relief.

Those who turn to the workers' compensation system may find that the payments they receive are not equivalent to their average wage. This is because workers' compensation is set up to provide benefits to people who sustain a work injury, regardless of whether an employer or the employee is at fault. The workers' compensation system was not set up to fully compensate an employee for all potential damages, as in a civil lawsuit, or to provide benefits for harm caused by a third party, such as the maker of a defective product or a subcontractor of the employer. Instead, compensation from third parties requires a separate legal claim.

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