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Every month, a reader asks one of our sponsor legal experts about a work-related issue. These building trades law professionals respond in an Organized Labor exclusive. This month’s expert is Hillary Allyn of the Arns Law Firm. Ask Hillary a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit The Arns Law Firm website.

I was injured at work at my job as a union construction worker when a forklift driver drove over my foot. The forklift driver was working for a different employer than me. I still have a cast on but my Workers’ Compensation doctor says I can work light duty. My employer is making me work in the office. My foot still hurts and I feel like I should be at home recuperating. Do I have to work light duty? What should I do?

You should consult an attorney right away. If your injury was caused by the negligence or wrong-doing of someone working for a different employer, a “third party,” you may have a third party case in addition to your Workers’ Compensation case. Your recovery is much greater in a third party case than that in a Workers’ Compensation case.

YOU CAN ONLY OBTAIN JUST COMPENSATION IF A NEGLIGENT 3RD PARTY CAUSED THE INCIDENT

The Arns Law Firm can then sue the negligent 3rd Party with a Civil Lawsuit and get a jury trial with unlimited damages
NOTE: The term 3rd Party refers to someone other than you (the 1st Party) and your employer (the 2nd Party)
The negligent 3rd party is liable for all damages – there are no restrictions like in the Workers’ Compensation system

If your employer says they have work available for you within your doctor’s restrictions, you must report to work! Failing to do so could affect your benefits and recovery in both the third party case and the Workers’ Compensation case. (Remember, if you perform light duty, you get full wages.) This is another reason why you should consult an attorney. As you know, there is no “light duty” in the construction trades. You may feel embarrassed if you are put to work in the office doing work that is nothing like your union construction work. There is often a financial incentive given to employers to “invent” light duty positions. Additionally, if the “light duty” pushes into full duty, you need to tell your doctor and attorney right away, as you are being forced to perform work that is outside of your restrictions.

If there is light duty available within your restrictions set by the doctor, however, you must continue to show up at the job. Having a good doctor as your primary treating physician will increase the likelihood that you will be kept off of work until if and when you really can return. An experienced attorney can help find a primary treating physician for you, as well as represent you in both your Workers’ Compensation and third party cases.

-Hillary Allyn, The Arns Law Firm, San Francisco, CA
Ask Hillary a question at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on work-site accidents and
your legal options, visit the ARNS Website.

“Interaction via “Ask the Expert” does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Any advice given is neither legal advice nor does it serve as a replacement for hiring an attorney. In addition, any case results mentioned or discussed are not guarantees of similar results.”


Hillary Allyn

This Month's Expert; Hillary Allyn

Hillary Allyn has a strong background in Workers' Compensation. She litigates cases involving construction injury, workers' compensation, personal injury, employment discrimination, and serious and willful employer misconduct.

Hillary was an extern to the Honorable Judge Teri Jackson at the San Francisco Superior Court. Her experience and her fluency in Spanish allow her to successfully represent our Spanish-speaking client base.

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