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Bay Area Workers Ask The Expert -- February 2015

The Veen Firm proudly partners with the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council to provide legal help for Bay Area workers in the trades. Many complicated legal issues affect workers in our community. The Veen Firm is passionate about providing the education and resources needed to protect Bay Area workers. Real people submit questions, and the attorneys at The Veen Firm respond directly. This month’s expertise is provided by Kimberly Wong

I was injured while driving on the job. The police cited me and the other driver for failing to come to a complete stop where we both had stop signs. What should I do?

 You should immediately notify your employer of your injury so that your employer can report it to its workers’ compensation insurance company and take appropriate action. Employees injured on the job are generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits from their employer. Benefits include medical treatment and disability payments related to the work injury. You should also notify your employer of the circumstances of the incident, vehicle damage, and injury to the other driver. Both you and the other driver may bring civil lawsuits against each other for your respective injuries. It is therefore important that you immediately report the incident to your insurance company. California follows a comparative fault system. Assuming both of you are at fault, your damages will be reduced by the percentage of your fault in causing the incident. Likewise, the other driver’s damages will be reduced by his or her percentage of fault. Because the incident occurred while you were working, your employer is also legally responsible for the other driver’s injuries to the same extent as you. Under California law, this is known as respondeat superior or vicarious liability. A thorough investigation is required to determine the respective fault of each driver. Obtaining and reviewing a copy of the police report is essential. You should be aware that sometimes police reports contain inaccuracies.For additional advice as to what you should do in your specific situation, you should consult with attorneys who specialize in workers’ compensation and personal injury claims as soon as possible because there are strict time limits under which you must act to protect your rights. 
-Kimberly Wong; The Veen Firm, PC, San Francisco, CA
(Reposted from the San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council.)

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