Workers Compensation vs. Personal Injury: What are my options?
Are you limited to a workers’ compensation claim if you were injured on the job? Not always. Just because you were injured while working doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t file a personal injury claim. While the majority of on-the-job injuries will be workers’ compensation claims, there are several exceptions. The first step in determining whether you have a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim is understanding the differences between the two. Although there are several distinctions between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, the most notable are recovery for damages and proof of fault in personal injury cases, while neither of these are requirements in workers’ compensation claims.
Workers’ Compensation Case:
- Entitles you to benefits for any injury suffered while on the job.
- Proving fault is not a requirement.
- Benefits start immediately.
- Entitled to medical treatment and expenses.
- Entitled to partial payment for time off work.
- Entitled to payment for permanent impairment.
- Not entitled to pain and suffering.
Personal Injury Case:
- Requires negligence/fault.
- Will not be paid immediately.
- Can claim lost earnings and lost earning capacity.
- Can claim medical bills and future medical expenses.
- Can claim pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Notable Differences in Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims
In a workers’ compensation case, you will not be compensated for pain and suffering. However, you can receive permanent impairment benefits, as well as weekly earnings compensation. By law, any worker who is injured while working is entitled to compensation, although there are some exceptions. The tradeoff for this, however, is that workers cannot sue employers or coworkers due to negligence, and he or she loses the right to sue for pain and suffering. On the contrary, in personal injury cases you can claim loss of earnings, as well as loss of earning capacity, future medical expenses, medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent impairment, hedonic damages and more.
The next step is to determine whether your injury falls under one of the several worker compensation exceptions. These can include injuries caused by:
• Third party negligence.
• Defective products.
• Toxic products.
If your workplace injury is caused by the negligence of a third party, a defective product, or a toxic product, you are not necessarily limited to a workers’ compensation claim. While we briefly touched on three examples of workers’ compensation exceptions, there are many more. Taking a workplace injury and bringing forth a personal injury claim is not a simple matter and requires an experienced lawyer who can understand and navigate the legal nuances of workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.
At Freidin Brown, P.A., we are experienced in taking cases that involve workplace injuries and turning them into personal injury claims against the negligent parties. Our team has recovered millions of dollars for victims of personal injury, and we are proud to have helped families obtain justice when their loved ones were injured due to the negligence of someone else. Please do not hesitate to contact our firm so that one of our experienced personal injury lawyers may begin reviewing your potential case. We are ready and willing to use our resources to assist you in any way we can—24 hours a day, seven days a week.