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When Are Employers Immune from Workers' Compensation Claims?

by Levin & Nalbandyan, LLP
April 21, 2023
Workers' Compensation

Understanding Your Rights If You Are Injured or Suffer an Illness at Work

California requires employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance to protect them from liability and ensure employees receive the money they need if they are injured on the job. In many cases, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for someone who is injured or suffers an illness at work. However, there are exceptions where an employer may be immune from a workers’ compensation claim. 

At Levin & Nalbandyan, we help to file workers’ compensation claims on behalf of injured employees in Los Angeles. Our attorneys have extensive experience ensuring that our clients receive the maximum benefits allowed under California law. If you were injured or developed an illness at work, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free consultation.

When Do Employers Have to Pay Workers’ Compensation Benefits?

California law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance on behalf of their employees. Workers’ compensation enables an employee who is injured or contracts an illness within the course of work to obtain compensation. Benefits may include compensation for your lost wages, medical bills, disability, and more.

Generally, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for an employee injured at work. Workers’ compensation benefits are paid regardless of whether the employee was at fault for the accident that caused the injuries. In exchange for these benefits, employees usually give up the right to pursue a lawsuit against their employer.

When Does an Employer Not Have to Pay a Workers’ Compensation Claim?

In certain cases, employers may not have to pay for a workers’ compensation claim. As reported by Human Resources Director, a deputy city attorney became sick with Typhus while working in Los Angeles. The woman contracted the illness in 2018 during the Typhus endemic in downtown LA. Her workplace was near the “Typhus zone” which allegedly was caused by an “accumulation of trash and other items” in the area. 

The woman filed a workers’ compensation claim stating that her employer, the City of Los Angeles, failed to remedy a dangerous condition on the property adjacent to where she worked. The City of Los Angeles denied her claim saying that she did not prove her illness was caused by the unsanitary condition adjacent to the workplace. In response, she filed a premises liability lawsuit. The City claimed that her lawsuit was barred due to workers’ compensation being her exclusive remedy. The trial court ruled in favor of the city.

The worker subsequently amended her complaint to allege that her illness was caused as a result of the city’s failure to remedy the dangerous condition next to her workplace. The court again ruled for the city, citing immunity under Section 855.4 of the Government Code. The section states that a public entity will not be held liable for failing to perform an “act to promote the public health of the community.”

Were You Injured at Work? Contact Our Office. 

If you were injured or contracted an illness while at work in Los Angeles, contact our office at (213) 232-4848 to schedule a free consultation. There are no fees unless we win. Call now to get started.

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