Oakland Construction Worker Injury at Caldecott Tunnel

tunnel.jpgConstruction work has been proceeding to put in a new bore at the Caldecott Tunnel. Today an Oakland construction worker was injured when a part of the façade of the new bore fell injuring the worker. The worker was struck by falling concrete. The incident happened around 7 a.m. and the worker was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

The law regarding construction accidents can be complex. Generally speaking if a person is injured on the job their only remedy is workers compensation. This means that they usually cannot sue for pain and suffering and for complete loss of earnings and future earnings. The injured worker is limited to whatever benefits workers compensation provides. This is known as the “exclusive remedy” (California Labor Code section 3602).

There are numerous exceptions to the exclusive remedy rule of workers compensation. If a worker’s injury is caused by the negligence of another party, such as the negligence of a general contractor or other subcontractor who is not his employer, the injured worker can file a claim against these negligent parties in a civil suit. There the worker is not limited to workers compensation remedies, but can recover full damages for pain and suffering, lost earnings, and loss of future earning capacity, as well as recovery for medical bills incurred and likely to occur in the future. These type cases are known as “third party” claims.

As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I see the benefits of a fair and prompt workers compensation system. However, in some circumstances the exclusive remedy of workers compensation does not provide an adequate recovery for the injured worker. In those instances especially, it is important to determine whether any exceptions to the exclusivity rule apply, such as a third party claim.


Oakland Tribune, Worker injured when facade of new Caldecott bore falls, November 3, 2010

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