Personal Injury FAQ

At Lewis, Marenstein, Wicke, Sherwin & Lee, LLP, we have more than 48 years of experience assisting injured Californians and their families in personal injury cases. The following are answers to some common questions we receive about personal injury cases. To consult one of our experienced lawyers about your case, call our Woodland Hills office at 818-835-4332 or contact us online.

If I am injured on the job and I have filed a workers' compensation claim, do I have other legal rights independent of workers' compensation?

If your on-the-job injuries were as the result of the negligence of a "third-party," you have the right to proceed with a civil action independent of the workers' compensation claim. For example: If you are driving a vehicle in the course and scope of your employment and you are rear-ended and suffer injuries, you have the right to file a workers' compensation claim as well as file a civil action against the person who rear-ended you.

Is there an advantage to filing a third-party action in addition to a workers' compensation claim?

Workers' compensation benefits are limited to payments for disability, such as temporary disability and permanent disability, including providing for medical care. However, in a personal injury action, additional benefits are available such as obtaining reimbursement for loss of overtime, loss of future earning capacity, some out-of-pocket expenses (such as for a replacement of rental vehicle), and the most recognized benefit, compensation for pain and suffering.

Can I receive both workers' compensation benefits and a personal injury recovery for the same incident?

You cannot receive a double recovery for one accident. Normally, the workers' compensation carrier is reimbursed for any expenditures made.

If you file a personal injury action and the employer paying the workers' compensation benefits files a lien, intervenes in the suit, or has filed a separate suit, the employer will be entitled to reimbursement for benefits paid.

To maximize a net recovery, the workers' compensation case and personal injury case should be coordinated, as each case can have an impact on the other.

Do I have to pay an attorney to represent me in a personal injury action?

Most attorneys handling personal injury cases are paid on a contingency basis. This means that if the injured party receives a recovery, the attorney is paid a percentage of the recovery. If the injured party receives no recovery, the attorney is paid nothing.

If the injuries are as the result of a work-related injury, again, the coordination of the two related cases is important to maximize the recovery.