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The Relationship Between Worker's Comp & Personal Injury

Often people can be confused about just when workmen's compensation laws and personal injury laws become applicable. Let's try and clear up a little of that confusion.

Workmen's comp. laws generally apply if you have been injured on the job. Without trying to give an actual legal definition of what "on the job" means, that term has generally been interpreted as meaning doing something within your job description, or at the direction of your employer. This can include situations where you might not be doing what you normally do in your job, but are doing something that your boss has directed you to do, for example, going to the store to pick up office supplies, or driving to the airport to pick another employee up, if you've been directed to do so. If you've been injured while working "within the course and scope" of your employment, then there is a good chance that it is a worker's comp situation, and you should consult with an attorney that specializes in worker's comp.


Sometimes an employee can be injured while on the job, but that injury occurs as the result of the negligence, error, or wrongdoing of someone who is not part of the company. Taking the example above of driving to the airport, let's say that while the employee is driving to the airport on the freeway, someone swerves across lanes, sideswipes them, and puts them into the center median wall. Assuming injury, the employee would have a worker's comp. claim, AND would also have a personal injury claim against the person that lost control of their car as well. There are probably as many examples of how someone might have both a worker's comp. case AND personal injury case, as there are ways for a person to be injured. I can't possibly go over all of them. The important general point is that the employee is injured on the job, and that injury happens because a non-employee was careless (negligent) in causing those injuries.

There are definite reasons to pursue the personal injury claim even if and while pursing the worker's comp. claim. The reasons are too complicated to go into here, but if such a situation happens to you then you should not only contact a worker's comp. lawyer, but also a lawyer that specializes in personal injury, because the procedures and forums are quite different from each other.

Contact my firm, the Law Office of Gary D. Baughman, APC, to speak with a professional and skilled legal team about your case. We are recognized as one of the leading catastrophic personal injury firms in California, as we have successfully handled significant cases involving permanent and long-lasting injuries. Call 909-927-5359 today!

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