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Whether you’re putting up holiday lights or cleaning your gutters, anyone who climbs up a ladder or onto a roof is at risk for suffering a fall. However, the hazard is especially high for construction workers, who often work on sloped or uneven roofs, with poorly maintained equipment, or under the guidance of supervisors who fail to create a safe work environment. And, while construction workers in San Diego don’t have to deal with ice or snow, heavy rainfall and forceful Santa Ana winds can make working on elevated surfaces extremely hazardous. Roof fall accidents can result in moderate to severe injuries including broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even death.

If you fell off a roof at work, you might be wondering if you should sue your employer for your injuries. In a majority of cases, you cannot sue your employer for a job-related injury. California law states that all employers, regardless of company size, must carry workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you cannot file a lawsuit, even if the accident was due to your employer’s negligence. Instead, you can file a workers’ compensation claim to collect benefits that will cover your medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation, and job retraining, if necessary.


In a vast majority of cases, an employee cannot sue his or her employer for a job-related injury in California. There are only a few instances where an injured employee can sue his or her employer. These situations include:

  1. The accident was caused by an assault by the employer. For example, if you fell off a roof at work because your employer punched you, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.
  2. The employee’s injury was aggravated because the employer knew there was a risk for injury and deliberately concealed that fact from the employee.
  3. The employee’s injury was caused by a defective product that was manufactured by the employer.
  4. The employee’s injury was caused by a power press, which is a machine commonly used in metalworking.
  5. If a worker suffers an injury and his or her employer does not carry workers’ compensation, the employee may file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer.

Most injured workers will not find themselves in one of the situations above. However, if someone besides your employer contributed to your accident, you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit.


In some cases, a third party may be responsible for a worker’s roofing accident injury. For example, if a piece of safety equipment fails and causes a worker to fall off a roof, the injured employee can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer, even though he or she cannot sue the employer. As long as the employee can prove that the defective equipment caused the injury and there are quantifiable damages that arose from the accident, an injured worker can file both a workers’ compensation claim and a third-party lawsuit.

A personal injury attorney can inform you of your rights to filing a third-party lawsuit for your injuries. If you fell off a roof at work and aren’t sure who is to blame, the best course of action is to contact a workers’ comp attorney who can review your entire case and help you take the right steps for collecting compensation.


Roof fall accidents can result in injuries that leave employees unable to return to work for extended periods of time. In the most serious cases, workers may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation to fully recover; some employees remain permanently disabled as a result of their injuries. While it is possible to sue your employer for a roofing accident injury in some cases, courts are reluctant to allow this when the option of going through the workers’ compensation system is available. If you fell off a roof at work and have suffered a serious injury, it’s in your best interest to contact a roof fall accident attorney who can help you collect the benefits you need to recover.

At The Law Office of Matthew Russell, we have decades of experience helping workers like you collect full compensation for their roofing accident injuries. Whether you suffered a broken bone or a spinal cord injury, our attorneys can help you build a strong case so you can collect the medical and wage loss benefits you need to recover.

Call the roof fall accident attorneys at The Law Office of Matthew Russell at (619) 544-1506 and schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.

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