Under California law, like most states, when an employee is injured in the course of employment, as a result of the negligence of the employer, a co-employee, or the employee,  the injured employee is not allowed to sue the employer for personal injuries in the Superior Court.

When a personal injury is caused by someone other than the employer, the injured employee can sue the third party in the Superior Court and simultaneously obtain workers’ compensation benefits.

Drivers injured on the job by the negligence of others or workers injured by defective/toxic products have both third party and workers’ compensation rights.

Under the California Workers’ Compensation statutes adopted by the Legislature, the injured employee’s only recourse is to file a workers’ compensation claim for benefits before a special administratiave agency – the Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board. These cases are heard and decided by an administrative judge. There is no right to trial by jury. Benefits available include, among others, medical care, limited disability pay, rehabililtation and retraining and a range of awards for permanent disability and death which are insulting low and insufficient. The gross inadequacies of the workers’s compensation system underscore the need to purchase disability income insurance from a private carrier.

On the positive side, workers’ compensation benefits are available even in cases where the employee through his/her own mistake or inattention causes his/her own injury. Workers’ compensation law, unlike civil courts, does not attempt to determine if someone’s fault caused the injury. Instead, because this body of law ignores the issue of fault, workers’ compensation cases focus on whether the injury was caused or incurred as a result of employment, the nature and extent of the injury, and the available remedies under this administrative law system.

Workers’ compensation cases are litigated by attorneys and adjusters for the employer or the employers workers’ compensation insurance company. The State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization has certified specialists in workers’ compensation, some of whom are listed below. Those listed in capitals are personally known and recommended, but the choice and selection of a lawyer is a personal choice.

In very limited situations, an injured employee can sue his/her employer in the Superior Court in cases where the employer has failed to have workers’ compensation insurance, the employer intentionally injured the employee or knowingly allowed the employee to work in an environment that was known to the employer to be hazardous to the employee.

The most notorious example of the latter situation was the infamous misconduct of Johns-Manville Corporation.

JMC knew that its employees were being continually exposed to life-threatening asbestos, but never removed the employees from the hazard and never warned its employees that the company knew that it was subjecting its employees to major injuries, disease and death. As a result, many states now exclude such willful misconduct from the statutory protection, or the exclusive remedy, of workers’ compensation and allow such cases to be brought directly against the wrongdoer with damages awarded by a jury.

The California attorneys listed below are recognized as certified specialists by the State Bar Board of Legal Specialization. Those whose names are capitalized are known by the author as reputable professionals, but as always the selection of an attorney is a personal decision, which a client must make independently.

Daniel Abramson

1234 H Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

Linda Atcherley

2333 first Avenue, #201

San Diego, CA 92101

Steven Birnhaum

1255 Post Street, Suite 850

San Francisco, CA 94109

Melissa Brown

2315 Capitol Avenue

Sacramento, CA 95860

Joseph Capurro

944 Saratoga Avenue

San Jose, CA 95129


1625 The Alameda, Suite 401

San Jose, CA 95126


Lawrence Drasin

1849 Sawtelle Blvd., Ste. 500

Los Angeles, CA 90025

David Dugan

2445 5th Ave., #350

San Diego, CA 92101

John Frailing

PO Box 3111

Modesto, CA 95353

Donald Gangemi

5620 Hilltop Drive

Paradize, CA 95969

Mark Gearheart

PO Box 23588

Pleasant Hill, CA 94523

Vernon Goldschmid

3345 Wilshire #600

Los Angeles, CA 90010


1234 H Street

Sacramento, CA 95814

Marilyn Green

200 Pine Avenue, Suite 600

Long Beach, CA 90802


481 North First Street

San Jose, CA 95112

Bernard Katzman

111 W. Ocean Blvd., 19th Floor

Long Beach, CA 90802

Laurence Lerner

141 N. Arrowhead Ave. #1

San Bernardino, CA 92408

Stanley Levine

600 B Street, Ste. 2300

San Diego, CA 92101

Euegene Leviton

200 W. Santa Ana, Suite 600

PO BOx 1644

Santa Ana, CA 92701

Todd McFarren

119 E. Beach

Watsonville, CA 95076


245 West Laurel Drive

Salinas, CA 93906

Roy Otis

PO Box 23588

Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
Michael Ozurovich

3655 Torrance Bl., Suite 405

Torrance, CA 90503

Thomas Pegnim

3105 Lone Tree Way, Ste. A

Antioch, CA 94509

Don Pekich

PO Box 1700

Long Beach, CA 90801

Lloyd Rowe

One Civic Plaza, Suite 300

Carson, CA 90745


245 W. Laurel Drive

Salinas, CA 93906

Eric Safire

451 Jackson St. 3rd Floor

San Francisco, CA 94111

Marvin Shapiro

801 S. Grand Avenue, 18th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90017

Edwin Silver

111 W. Ocean Blvd., 19th Floor

Long Beach, CA 90802

Dennis Sommese

3000 Arden Way, Ste. 1

Sacramento, CA 95825


2102 Almaden Road, Suite 107

San Jose, CA 95125

Robert Vines

650 E. Hospitality Lane, Suite 450

San Bernardino, CA 92408

Free personal injury consultation.   Guaranteed confidential.

Call 1.888.777.1776.

Monday through Friday 7 am  to 9 pm Pacific; Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 9 pm Pacific.

Or email us.

For all personal injury and wrongful death clients: no recovery: no fees, no costs.

Delay can result in the permanent loss of personal injury rights.  Don’t put it off.  Call now.


Richard Alexander