California has two different kinds of schemes for personal injury claims, depending on where you were injured. If you are injured at work, you will usually need to bring your claim through the workers’ compensation system. However, if you are injured during your leisure time, and your injuries were caused by the negligence of someone else, you will often be able to hold the wrongdoer accountable through the civil legal system through a tort claim. Typically, plaintiffs prefer to bring their claims under tort law because there is the potential for much greater damages to be awarded. The problem is that plaintiffs cannot bring a tort claim when workers’ compensation has been designated the exclusive remedy for the harm suffered. The California Supreme Court recently heard a case that addressed whether a specific kind of personal injury claim can be brought under a tort claim or whether it has to be funneled through the workers’ compensation system. This may all sound complicated – and it is- but a knowledgeable Southern California personal injury attorney can help you understand the best way to move your injury claim forward.
California Workers’ Compensation System
The court here explained that the workers’ compensation system gives employees relatively certain benefit payments, but they give up many kinds of potentially available damages in exchange. Part of the benefits provided by the workers’ compensation system is payment of necessary medical costs related to the injury. To ensure that the recommended treatments are actually “necessary,” the California workers’ compensation system has set up an independent review process. The process works by an independent reviewer who is tasked with approving or disapproving requests for treatment by program participants.