Workers’ Compensation Lawyer San Diego, CA

Can You File for Workers' Compensation If the Accident Was Your Fault?

Workers' compensation written on a notepad that's on a desk with a pile of one hundred dollar bills.

A workers’ compensation lawyer explains how the system works in California.

One of the most common questions we hear from clients at our law firm in Southern California is whether they can file for workers’ compensation benefits if their work-related accident was their fault.

The answer to this question depends on many different factors. In general, most injured workers can file a workers’ comp claim if they were partly or completely at fault. However, there are important exceptions to this rule.

This is why it’s critical that injured workers talk to an experienced workers’ compensation attorney right away. At McLaughlin & Sanchez, we can answer your legal questions and explain your options. Contact us today to learn more.

California’s no-fault workers’ compensation system

To understand whether you can file a claim for your work-related injury, it’s essential to understand how California’s workers’ compensation system works. First, let’s start with who runs this system – the Division of Workers’ Compensation in California.

Next, California has what’s known as a no-fault workers’ compensation system. This means that workers injured on the job in California can file a workers’ compensation claim, regardless of who was at fault.

As a result, if you accidentally did something to cause your work-related accident, you can still seek financial compensation from your employer’s workers’ compensation insurance provider in most cases.

When are injured workers not eligible for workers’ comp in California?

While most workers injured on the job in California can receive workers’ compensation benefits even if the accident was their fault, there are exceptions to this rule. Such exceptions include:

  • The injured worker intentionally caused their work-related accident.
  • The injured worker started a fight with someone at work and got hurt during the fight.
  • The injured worker was drunk or under the influence of drugs when they got hurt at work.
  • The injured worker got hurt while committing a criminal act which resulted in a criminal conviction.
  • The injured worker refused to wear protective equipment required by their employer, an act sometimes referred to as “willful misconduct.”

Are there other exceptions to California’s workers’ compensation system?

In addition to the reasons described above, there are sometimes additional exceptions, which can result in someone’s workers’ compensation claim being denied in California. Such reasons include the following:

  • The injury did not occur at work but happened elsewhere, not during working hours.
  • The injury was a pre-existing medical condition due to a previous injury not covered by workers’ compensation.
  • Lack of medical evidence that the worker sustained an injury.
  • The injured worker waited too long to report the work-related injury and missed the deadline to file a workers’ compensation claim in California.

How can a workers’ compensation attorney help?

California’s workers’ compensation system can be confusing, especially if someone has never filed a claim before seeking benefits. The slightest mistake can sometimes result in a significant delay or even a workers’ compensation application being denied.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at McLaughlin & Sanchez thoroughly understand how the state’s workers’ compensation system works. That’s because we have protected the rights of injured workers in Southern California for over three decades.

Don’t take chances with your future. Instead, contact our law firm and schedule a free case review to see how we can help you find your way forward. We proudly serve injured workers in Southern California and have three office locations in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Temecula.

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