Common Job Injury Nonsubscriber Claims

March 10, 2023

We sincerely apologize for the Legalese in this blog’s title. But we thought it might get your attention. If that didn’t work, this statistic might. Worldwide, over two million workers sustain on-the-job injuries every year. 

California, like most other states, has a mandatory workers’ compensation law. Businesses with more than a certain number of employees must buy workers’ compensation insurance. These insurance benefits pay injured workers’ medical bills and replace some of their lost wages. Injured victims don’t have to prove negligence, recklessness, or even fault.

“Nonsubscriber” could refer to the huge number of companies that don’t have workers’ compensation insurance. Some companies lie on insurance forms to reduce their premiums. We all know what happens when the insurance company uncovers these lies. Still other companies openly flaunt the law and refuse to buy insurance. To corporate bean counters, the reward of cost savings often outweighs the risk of getting caught or an uninsured claim.

Additionally, workers’ compensation only applies to unintentional injuries related to the work environment. It doesn’t apply if the employer intentionally or recklessly puts workers at risk. It also doesn’t apply if a defective product caused the injury. More on these things below.

Whether or not workers’ compensation applies, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney can obtain the compensation job injury victims need and deserve.

Defective Product Claims

Employees at almost every worksite in California use a defective product at least once every day. This issue could be a:

  • Design Defect: Most product makers care almost nothing about user safety. In contrast, they care a lot about profit margin. If, during the design phase, engineers have a choice between profitability and safety, they always choose profitability.
  • Manufacturing Defect: The push for profitability at the expense of safety continues into the product manufacturing phase. Many companies use cheap parts or components which cannot do the job. Usually, manufacturers are legally responsible for their products until a retailer or other reseller officially takes control of them.

This responsibility is generally strict liability. Defective product injury victims, much like workers’ compensation claimants, need not prove negligence or fault. The unforeseeable misuse defense is usually the only effective defense in these cases. These victims are legally responsible for their own injury. “Unforeseeable misuse” is something like using a chainsaw to open a soda can.

Overlap is common in nonsubscriber claims. For example, an employer might not encourage employees who work in high places to wear safety harnesses, since these safety devices sometimes slow workers down.

Uninsured or Reckless Employer Claims

If the employer doesn’t have insurance, or the employer recklessly endanger workers, perhaps by not providing proper protective asbestos equipment for demolition workers, job injury victims may file claims in civil court. 

As punishment for not following the law, uninsured employers usually can’t use assumption of the risk, comparative fault, and some other “silver bullet” type defenses. Therefore, it’s easier for a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer to prove negligence and obtain maximum compensation. In these claims, this compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

If the issue is reckless endangerment, victims usually have some options. If the evidence of negligence is strong, and it probably is in such a case, a civil claim is an option. Alternatively, a job injury victim could take the path of least resistance and file a workers’ compensation claim. 

Workers’ Compensation Claims

A brief, final word about these claims. Compensation for economic losses, mostly lost wage replacement and medical bill payment, is available for job-related injuries. Victims don’t have to prove fault. Maximum compensation is available even if the victim was partially, mostly, or entirely at fault for the injury.

Although liability is usually straightforward, these claims often have some twists and turns. Pre-existing conditions, which often come up in hearing loss, repetitive stress, and other occupational disease claims, are a good example. Workers’ compensation still applies if the injury exacerbated the pre-existing condition, instead of the other way around.Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim. Lawyers can connect victims with doctors, even if they have no insurance or money.

Image Credit: Photo by Carl Campbell on Unsplash

Sharona Hakim

Sharona Eslamboly Hakim, Esq. is a successful personal injury attorney and the principal of the Law Offices of Eslamboly Hakim firm in Beverly Hills, California.

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