Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Law: How are They Different?
People often confuse personal injury claims with workers’ compensation claims. There are meaningful differences between personal injury cases and those that qualify as workers’ compensation. Yet few people outside of attorneys understand these distinctions. Workers’ compensation insurance covers certain injuries while other forms of insurance can cover other injuries unrelated to work, if insurance will cover them at all.
Regardless of how you sustained your injury, our injury lawyers are here to fiercely advocate on your behalf in and out of a court of law. Our legal team will explain the difference between legal concepts and nuances such as personal injuries and workers’ compensation injuries.
Workers’ Compensation Injuries
The primary distinction between a workers’ compensation injury and a personal injury is a workers’ compensation injury occurs while at work or performing work-related activities. As an example, driving a vehicle for the company. Being hit by another automobile can spur a workers’ compensation claim. Or simply leaning over in one’s chair to reach for a fallen paperclip or other sundry can lead to a back strain and subsequent workers’ compensation claim. Notably, all of these injuries happened while at work or performing work-related activities.
Compensation for the injury, suffering, and other losses is provided through the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
Personal Injury Lawsuits
If a specific person or party is at fault, the victim can file a personal injury lawsuit. Most personal injury cases involve some sort of negligence. This means that a person or institution that failed to provide the appropriate level of care to others in the vicinity. This is quite the contrast to workers’ compensation claims. There is often no one to specifically blame for the injury and pain.
Furthermore, personal injury cases allow one to recover all different types of damages including suffering and pain. Your legal team is saddled with the burden of proof. They must show the pain, suffering, and other damages are actually a result of the injury in question. It is also important to note one cannot file a personal injury lawsuit against his or her employer after filing a workers’ compensation claim for the same injury. Usually employees forfeit their right to sue their employer if collecting workers’ compensation or if filing for such compensation.
However, some unique situations have the potential to arise in which could involve a third party and changing circumstances. If a third party played a role in the injury, the case can become a combination case. An injury that results from someone unrelated to the plaintiff’s job, known as a third party, allows the employee to file a distinct personal injury lawsuit. This suit is filed against the third party responsible for the injury.
Suing an Employer or Co-workers
Employees are generally not able to sue their employer for injuries sustained on the job. Nor are employees able to sue their co-workers for those injuries. Workers’ compensation laws were passed to guarantee those injured while working are provided with weekly benefits.
However, employees forfeit their right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer in exchange for these benefits. This means it does not matter if the employer or employees acted in a negligent manner; the victim will not be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. The injured employee does not have the right to seek damages for pain and suffering if the injury occurred at work or while on the clock, and the victim has already received workers’ compensation.
Only two classes of employees have the legal right to sue their employers for injuries. Those who do not qualify for workers’ compensation coverage, according to law, are legally able to sue their employer and/or co-workers. These groups are interstate railroad employees and those working on vessels. Instead of being provided with workers’ compensation benefits, these employees have the right to sue employers for damages, including but not limited to pain and suffering. This right applies to all injuries that occur on the job.
Pursuing a Claim
Workers’ compensation claims must be field with the insurance provider that does business with the employer. It might be necessary to adhere to specific protocols such as notifying a supervisor of the injury in a certain period of time. It might also be necessary that an employer-hired physician analyze the injury.
Alternatively, personal injury claims center on an attorney bringing the claim to the individual party’s insurance provider. The attorney attempts to reach a mutually acceptable settlement. If neither side can agree on a fair settlement or if the insurance provider denies claim, the attorney might have to file a lawsuit and proceed with litigation.
The Issue of Financial Responsibility for the Injury, Pain, and Associated Costs
The employer’s insurance provider must pay the bill for all of the benefits of the workers’ compensation claim. These workplace injuries are usually much more clear cut than those that occur outside of work. However, the business’s insurance policy can sometimes cover personal injury claims.
Some cases can even involve multiple insurance policies. Some personal injury lawsuits ultimately end up with the defendant having to pay the entirety of the damages without the assistance of an insurance company.
You Need Legal Assistance Following Your Injury Regardless of How It Occurred
Whether you suffered your injury at work, or outside of work and completely unrelated to your job, you will benefit from the assistance of a proven injury attorney. Our legal team has handled countless personal injury and workers’ compensation injury claims. Meet with us regardless of the type of injury you have suffered. We will provide you with a guide on your path to legal success and compensation.
Even if you are unsure of the specific cause of your injury, it will help to meet with a legal professional, discuss what happened in detail, and evaluate the options. Regardless of whether you pursue a personal injury suit or a workers’ compensation claim, our legal team is here to guide you through the process. We will take the steps necessary to maximize the value of your claim.
Our attorneys will listen closely to exactly what happened on the day of the accident. Lay out all the facts when you meet with our legal team. Let us analyze what happened, develop a legal strategy, and explain the approach in terms you can easily understand. We will help you document your injuries, collect all forms of evidence, file the claim, and pursue justice. This is the professional legal assistance you need to guarantee the proper preparation of your case so that you get maximum compensation and you are that much likelier to make a full recovery.
Additional Factors to Consider When Injured at Work
Those injured at work should understand not every single injury should prompt a workers’ compensation claim. If your injury began outside of work or if the injury was not a direct result of work tasks, it does not make sense to file a workers’ compensation claim. Another factor to consider is whether the injury is a recurring condition or a one-time event. If you have any questions or concerns in the slightest, do not attempt to “wing it.” You need the assistance of an attorney to determine your best course of action. We will help you obtain as much compensation as possible following this unfortunate event.
Our Injury Lawyers Are on Your Side
If you suffer injuries in any manner and suspect another person or institution is even partially at fault, contact our legal team right away. Injury law is our forte. Give Mike Brandner Injury Attorneys to schedule an initial appointment. Our office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. However, we are more than happy to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you prefer to contact us online, click the LiveChat feature on our website. We provide free consultations regardless of whether you have a prospective personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation injury. You will not have to worry about paying a fee unless we win your case.
The information on this blog is for general information purposes only. Nothing herein should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.