The Differences Between A Personal Injury Claim And A Claim For Workers' Compensation

When you are hurt on the job, you may consider filing a lawsuit to recover for your lost wages, injuries and medical expenses. A good question to ask is, what kind of claim should I be filing? While your attorney will handle this issue, it's wise to be well-versed in the law as different courses of action can result in different outcomes in terms of whether or not you prevail on a claim and what damages you can recover. In the context of on-the-job injuries, the question becomes whether you should file a workers' compensation claim or a personal injury claim. Below, we will discuss the difference between these two types of claims.

Fault Vs. No Fault Needed

What is perhaps the largest difference between a personal injury claim and a workers' compensation claim is that a personal injury claim is fault based by nature. What this means is that you must show that the other person did something wrong. A good example of a personal injury claim would be a slip-and-fall at the grocery store in a situation where the store personnel has left a slippery substance on the floor, despite knowing that it was there. In this situation, the store personnel would have acted negligently.

In contrast, with a workers' compensation claim, showing fault is not a prerequisite to recovery. Rather, any employee who is injured while working is entitled to workers' compensation. In fact, even if you were negligent and helped cause the accident, you may still be able to receive workers' compensation damages.

Different Damages

Another difference between a personal injury claim and a claim for workers' compensation is what damages you may be able to recover. If you prevail on a personal injury claim, the damages you can recover are vast, including lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life (i.e., hedonic damages), among other things. In contrast, if you bring a claim for workers' compensation, you cannot recover damages for pain and suffering. You are only entitled to recover weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills and vocational rehabilitation.

Contact Us For Help

Being injured on the job is devastating, particularly when that injury is permanent and life-altering. If you or your loved one has been hurt on the job, contact one of the experienced attorneys at Reich & Binstock today. With over 30 years of experience, we are here to help you. Call 713-352-7883 or 877-643-3099 toll free or complete the contact form on this website.