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Oakland Personal Injury > Blog > Construction Accident > When is Workers’ Comp NOT the Sole Remedy for a California Construction Accident?

When is Workers’ Comp NOT the Sole Remedy for a California Construction Accident?


If you work in the construction industry in California, you know the work environment can be a dangerous one. Data from the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is proof, as there were 27,400 recorded cases of workplace injuries at construction sites in 2018. In sum, 13,300 of these cases involved days away from work and another 6,800 more resulted in a job transfer or restriction. For victims and their families, the loss of income adds to the financial strain of medical bills, pain, and suffering.

You might assume that your sole remedy would be filing a workers’ compensation claim if you were hurt at your job in construction, as is the rule in most cases. However, there are exceptions that may allow you to seek damages through a civil lawsuit. An Oakland construction accident attorney can advise you on the details, but a summary of the laws may be useful.

Exceptions to the Sole Remedy Rule: California’s workers’ comp system is one of no-fault, so you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent in causing your work-related injuries. The caveat is that a workers’ compensation claim is your exclusive remedy, so you cannot file a civil lawsuit for damages. The five key exceptions to this rule are:

  1. Where your employer acts in dual capacity, extending into areas that fall outside the traditional employer-employee your relationship;
  2. When your employer fraudulently conceals your injury and its connection to the work environment, thereby aggravating it;
  3. If your employer engages in willful assault or ratifies an attack upon you by another employee;
  4. The failure to install the required safety guards for employees who work on power press equipment; and,
  5. Your employer fails to purchase workers’ comp insurance or meet California’s self-insurance requirements.

Why You Should Seek ALL Available Remedies After a Construction Accident: In a qualifying workers’ comp claim, you can obtain a wide range of monetary benefits to provide financial support, including medical costs, wage replacement, and others. However, you CANNOT recover compensation for your non-economic damages. Therefore, it is important to take proper legal action if you do fall into one of the exceptions above. In doing so, you could receive amounts for your emotional distress, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Note that California law does allow you to concurrently pursue a workers’ comp claim and file a lawsuit against your employer. Still, your employer’s workers’ comp insurance company is entitled to reimbursement for some amount you recover through a personal injury case, such as medical bills.

Our Oakland Construction Accident Lawyers Can Explain Your Remedies 

Not all workplace accidents will qualify for an exception to the rule about workers’ comp being the sole remedy, but you can see why you would want to pursue a civil lawsuit if possible. To learn more about how the laws apply to your construction accident injuries, please contact the Oakland construction accident attorneys at Venardi Zurada, LLP today. We can set up a no-cost case evaluation at our offices.



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  • We have served Northern California for over 35 years.

  • Our attorneys have been honored with numerous accolades, including SuperLawyers, AV Rating, and Top 100 Trial Attorney Awards.

  • In our decades of legal service to the community, we have garnered a substantial reputation. We are respected by opposing counsel, feared by insurance companies, and followed by jurors.

  • We combine Big Firm experience with boutique office attention and care. Several of our attorneys have experience working for the biggest law firms in the country, including the most prominent maritime defense law firm. Our attorneys rely on that big-firm know-how but prefer the personal touch of a smaller firm, allowing us to provide individualized and attentive representation to each of our clients.

  • We’ve been through it, too. Attorney Mark Venardi had to personally deal with a medical malpractice injury he suffered at a time when he was working a blue-collar job on an offshore oil rig; he knows what it’s like to be a working man dealing with a personal injury. He built his way up to working for the biggest maritime defense firm in the country, before deciding to focus on helping people like himself who were hurt by negligence and mistreatment from others.

  • We like to fight for the underdog. Attorney Martin Zurada is an immigrant and the son of immigrants who tirelessly worked his way up through education and experience to attain the American dream. Even though he has served in large, high-level litigation law firms, he prefers helping clients directly, fighting against injustices, and securing victories for the little guy who has been wronged.

  • We win. We have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. In our combined tenure, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients across our broad areas of practice.

  • We care first and foremost about our clients. We dedicate ourselves to serve each and every client personally, and we make ourselves available to our clients around the clock.

  • There is no cost to you until we win. If we don’t make a recovery for you, we will not collect a fee. And all initial consultations are free of charge.

Dedicated Areas of Practice

We offer a wide range of litigation services for Oakland personal injury and employment law clients. Specifically, our areas of dedicated practice span the following issues:

Employment Law. California employers must assure proper pay to employees and comply with a variety of rules and regulations to prevent discrimination and unfair treatment of employees. We represent victims of wage and hour violations, employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and any other form of California workplace mistreatment. If you believe you were treated inappropriately at work, we can help.

Personal Injury. If you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation. That’s where we come in. As Oakland personal injury attorneys, we right the wrongs done to our clients. And we do it at our cost during the entire duration of your case. There is never any fee until we win. Give us a call if you have been hurt in a car accident, by a toxic spill or contamination, as a result of medical malpractice, due to abuse or neglect, in a maritime accident, by a vicious animal attack, or any other incident caused by someone else’s negligence.

The Sooner You Speak to an Oakland Injury Lawyer, the Stronger Your Chances for Recovery Will Become.

Contact the Oakland injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada today, and let’s get started. We are available to talk any time, so whether you call, email or chat online, we’ll respond and set up an appointment to meet you. We have several Spanish speakers in the office and welcome the opportunity to cater our services to Oakland’s Spanish-speaking population. You pay no fee until we win for you, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our office for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the faster we can start getting results for you. Call 925-937-3900.

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