In California, insured workers will usually be compensated for any damages they receive on the job through workers’ compensation. However, there are some situations in which it a worker has the option of suing either a third party or even their own employer as well.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines workers’ compensation as an insurance system that allows an injured worker to be reimbursed for their injury. The amount can vary, and sometimes an injured worker may feel as though the amount they have received is not equivalent to the damage that has been done.

Generally speaking, workers’ compensation waives an employee’s right to take an employer to court in the case of an injury. This is called a no-fault system, as employees are able to collect workers’ compensation benefits regardless of who was at fault for the event that lead to the injury. Because of this, it is very difficult to sue an employer, though it isn’t impossible.

In order to sue an employer, a worker must be able to prove that their employer intended to cause them harm. Some typical examples include:

  • Intentional infliction of emotional distress
  • Assault or battery
  • Defamation
  • Fraud
  • Trespassing
  • Invasion of privacy

Additionally, an employee can sue a third party if neither they nor their employer was responsible for their injury. As an example, a manufacturer can be held responsible if they sold a company a defective product that then caused an employee injury. However, that employee may then have to reimburse their employer for workers’ compensation if they are awarded damages.