Sacramento, CA asked in Personal Injury, Workers' Compensation and Employment Law for California

Q: I was exposed to formaldehyde in the office. Can a personal injury claim be filed alongside workers' comp claim?

I suffered a severe reaction, from coughing & choking to blackouts & memory loss. We learned of the toxic chemical after the workers’ comp doctor ordered the employer to have an air sampling test completed. In the weeks leading up to the severe reaction, I was feeling awful; fatigued, confused, irritated, difficulty concentrating. The day of the severe reaction, my employer ignored & dismissed my medical emergency, so I could not see a doctor for 3 weeks. I'm now experiencing chronic exhaustion, fatigue, memory issues, panic attacks and anxiety from the trauma. Also, as a cancer survivor, I’m worried if that toxic injury may take a great toll on me down the road.

4 Lawyer Answers
Neil Pedersen
Neil Pedersen
Answered
  • Westminster, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: No. All workplace injuries and medical conditions are the exclusive jurisdiction of the workers compensation system. There are some very limited exceptions. You should speak to your workers compensation attorney about those.

Good luck to you.

Patrick William Steinfeld
Patrick William Steinfeld
Answered
  • Coronado, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: You are entitled to bring a personal injury claim if your injuries were caused by a 3rd party (i.e. not your employer or co-workers). Any injuries caused by your employer or co-workers is limited to workers compensation. Good luck. Patrick Steinfeld

Dale S. Gribow
Dale S. Gribow
Answered
  • Palm Desert, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: as a rule, you are restricted to a WC claim....unless a 3rd party is involved other than your employer.

if there was a 3rd party claim there would be an offset.

William John Light
William John Light
Answered
  • Riverside, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It depends on the source of the formaldehyde. If the source was your employer, then your recovery is limited to workers compensation. If the source of the formaldehyde was another company or person, you may have a personal injury claim to pursue against them. Consult with a personal injury attorney for more details about your potential claims.

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