California workers’ compensation laws require that employers provide employees with workers’ compensation benefits when they are injured during the course of employment. Employees are generally entitled to this compensation even if the accident wasn’t the employer’s fault and even if the employee may be partially to blame for the injuries sustained.
Pursuant to California workers compensation laws, workers’ compensation benefits may include payment of medical expenses, temporary disability benefits while the worker is recovering from the injury and permanent disability benefits if the injured workers has permanent impairments. There may also be a supplemental job displacement voucher if the worker cannot return to his/her job. However, in most instances, these benefits are much lower than would be available through a third party lawsuit if one is available. A third party lawsuit is a personal injury lawsuit arising out of a workplace injury where the case is against someone other than the employer who was at least partially responsible for the worker’s injury. As a result, when an employee suffers an on the job injury, determining whether it is possible to bring a “third party lawsuit” is critical as it may be the only way to more fully compensate an injured worker for his/her losses.
A defective product (i.e., “product liability”) can serve as the basis of a third party lawsuit. Product liability lawsuits can arise in several different ways, such as:
• A manufacturing defect
Sometimes products are defective because a mistake occurs in the manufacturing of the product that is not detected by quality assurance processes. This may occur, for example, if the product is not assembled correctly. Or, there may be a flaw or weakness in a component part which later leads to a failure. These defects can form the basis of a product liability lawsuit.
• A defective design/design flaw
In other instances, a product may be defective if its design creates an unreasonable risk of harm to the user in relation to the benefits of the design. Similarly, a design may be defective if it does not meet the safety expectations of consumers. There are innumerable examples of defective products in the work place. These include products with inadequate guards or other safety features. In these instances, an injured worker may be able to file a product liability lawsuit against the manufacture based on a design defect.
• Lack of adequate warning
Further, if the manufacturer fails to provide adequate warnings concerning the dangers of a particular product, and an employee is injured using that product, the manufacturer may also be found liable in a product liability lawsuit.
If you have been injured on the job, consulting with an experienced Oakland work place accident lawyer is important to ensure you obtain all the compensation you deserve. For more information, please contact the dedicated California workers’ compensation lawyers at Butler Viadro, LLP for an immediate consultation.