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Workplace Accidents

Workplace Accident Attorney in San Francisco

Personal Injury Lawsuits for Workplace Injuries

If you or someone you love has been injured in a workplace accident, you may have the right to seek compensation for your damages through a personal injury lawsuit.

As a civil claim separate from workers’ compensation proceedings, a personal injury lawsuit can allow victims to recover damages that are not available through workers’ comp, or are insufficient in covering all of their losses. However, personal injury claims require plaintiffs to prove someone else is liable for their damages.

At Bostwick & Peterson, LLP, our San Francisco attorneys represent injured workers and families in civil personal injury and wrongful death claims arising from workplace accidents. If you have questions about whether you are able to file a civil lawsuit after your accident, contact us to request a FREE consultation.

Why Choose Bostwick & Peterson

  • Over $1 billion in verdicts and settlements
  • Record-setting results in multiple states
  • Attorneys named among The Best Lawyers in America
  • Contingency fees – no fee unless we win

Personal Injury or Workers’ Comp: Can I File a Civil Claim?

In California, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy for workers who are injured in the course of performing job-related duties. However, there are exceptions to the rule that may allow some injured workers to bring civil lawsuits against an at-fault party.

There are many differences between workers’ comp and personal injury claims.

  • Workers’ compensation is a type of no-fault insurance carried by employers. It can provide medical benefits, wage replacement, rehabilitation, disability and other benefits to workers who suffer injuries on the job, no matter who is at fault. Injured workers do not need to prove that anyone was negligent in causing their injuries
  • Personal injury lawsuits are brought by victims who claim another person or entity was negligent in causing their injuries, or are otherwise liable for their damages. Unlike workers’ comp, personal injury suits allow victims to recover non-economic damages for their pain and suffering and loss of consortium, as well as full compensation for past and future lost wages. Personal injury claims will require plaintiffs to prove fault and liability.

Workers’ compensation is important, and it can provide immediate benefits to workers after they are injured. However, it is often insufficient in accounting for all losses suffered by workers and families. When possible, a civil personal injury suit can help workers recover the full compensation they need.

When Can I Bring a Civil Lawsuit After a Work Accident?

It will depend on the facts of your case.

Generally, California’s exclusive remedy rule bars workers from suing their employers unless the situation meets one of very few limited exceptions, such as when employers intentionally harm workers, fail to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or fail to use certain protections on metal punch presses.

Because claims against an employer are rare, personal injury suits arising from workplace accidents are usually filed against a third party who is NOT the workers’ employer. This may include:

  • A subcontractor on a worksite that negligently caused a construction accident or someone other workplace accident.
  • A negligent motorist who causes a motor vehicle crash while a worker is on duty.
  • The manufacturer, distributor, and / or retailer of a defective product, tool, or piece of equipment.
  • A property owner that failed to ensure safe conditions on their premises, resulting in a preventable accident (i.e. a slip and fall accident).
  • A pet owner whose dog or animal caused injured as a result of a dog bite or animal attack.

The specific facts of your case will ultimately determine if you are able to bring a civil lawsuit for your workplace accident. That is why it is important to work with experienced attorneys who can fully investigate what happened and determine if any non-employer defendants can be held liable.

Contact Us for a FREE Consultation

Bostwick & Peterson is a U.S. News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” Tier 1 firm that has recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for clients. Led by two of California’s most respected trial lawyers, we have the experience to guide injured workers and families through their legal journeys.

To discuss a workplace accident and what legal options you may have, contact us. Our San Francisco attorneys offer FREE and confidential case evaluations.


  • Inner Circle of Advocates
    Inner Circle of Advocates

    Invitation-only organization of the top 100 plaintiff trial lawyers in the U.S.

  • International Academy of Trial Lawyers
    International Academy of Trial Lawyers

    Former President of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, limited to the top 500 trial lawyers in the U.S.

  • Super Lawyers 2023
    Super Lawyers 2023

    James S. Bostwick and Erik L. Peterson have been named top-rated medical malpractice attorneys in Northern California.

  • American Board of Trial Advocates
    American Board of Trial Advocates

    Invitation-only group of the nation’s top civil lawyers and judges.

  • American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys
    American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys

    James Bostwick is a nationally certified medical malpractice specialist and founding member.

  • The Best Lawyers in America
    The Best Lawyers in America

    Recognized since its inception in 1983 by this peer-reviewed publication, comprised of the best legal talent in the world.

  • Best Law Firms 2023
    Best Law Firms 2023

    Recognized for professional excellence with impressive ratings from clients and peers.

  • The National Trial Lawyers
    The National Trial Lawyers

    James Bostwick & Erik Peterson are listed in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

  • Multi-Million Dollar Advocates
    Multi-Million Dollar Advocates

    An exclusive group limited to less than 1% of U.S. attorneys who have won multi-million dollar results.

  • Lawdragon

    James Bostwick inducted into the Hall of Fame and featured among the Top 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers in America.

  • America's Top 100 Med Mal Litigators
    America's Top 100 Med Mal Litigators

    James Bostwick's exceptional talents have been recognized by America’s Top 100 Medical Malpractice Litigators®, where he remains among some of the most esteemed medical malpractice litigators throughout the country.


What Sets Bostwick & Peterson, LLP Apart?

  • More than $1 billion recovered for our clients
  • Since January 2018, the firm has twice broken the California record for the largest medical malpractice settlement
  • James Bostwick was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers® in 2012
  • James Bostwick is a Nationally Certified Specialist by the American Board of Professional Liability
  • Included in the list of "Best Lawyers in America" by U.S. News - Best Lawyers® since its inception in 1983
  • James Bostwick received the Trial Lawyers "Presidential Award of Merit"
  • James Bostwick is a member of the Inner Circle of Advocates, limited to the nation’s top 100 plaintiff lawyers
  • Record-setting verdicts and settlements in five states for medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents
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