If you have suffered a job-related injury, receiving financial compensation is an important step when it comes to recovery. The two main ways to ensure you get the financial recovery needed after a work-related accident are the following:
- File a workers’ compensation claim
- File a claim for personal injury compensation
If you are in this situation, you may wonder what type of claim you can file and if it is possible to file both. Keep reading to learn more.
What Type of Claim Should You File if You Are Injured at Work?
If you suffer an injury at work and are classified as an employee (rather than an independent contractor), you will probably qualify for workers’ compensation benefits. Most states require all employers to have workers’ compensation insurance to cover injuries that occur to workers while on the job. Also, since workers’ compensation is considered a “no-fault” system, it’s possible to file for benefits no matter what caused your injury (there are some exceptions, such as if you intentionally caused your injury).
If there is another party is considered at fault for your injuries (or negligence), it may be possible to file a personal injury claim, too. Or, if you are employed by an employer that is not subject to workers’ compensation, then filing a personal injury claim may be the only option you have.
Workers’ Comp vs. Personal Injury
Personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims are extremely different. If you file a workers’ compensation claim, then you file a claim against your employer or the insurance company to receive limited benefits. Usually, benefits from a workers’ compensation claim will cover all medical expenses related to your injury and a portion of your lost wages while you recover. Even if your doctor diagnoses you with a permanent disability, at some point, your benefits may expire.
With personal injury claims, it’s possible to recover full compensation for all injury-related losses. This includes medical costs and total wage replacement. However, that’s not all. You can also recover compensation for pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of companionship and society, and other related losses.
Another difference between personal injury and workers’ comp is the legal basis of your claim. While workers’ compensation claims offer no-fault benefits, if you want to recover personal injury damages, you must prove another person’s negligence caused your injury.
Personal Injury Damages vs. Workers’ Compensation Benefits
There are other differences between personal injury damages and workers’ compensation benefits.
For example, workers’ compensation benefits provide the following:
- Medical costs until MMI (maximum medical improvement) is reached
- Partial wage replacement
- Vocational rehabilitation costs
With personal injury damages, you receive the following:
- Full compensation for all medical bills and future costs
- Full wage replacement and compensation for your future earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs and other out-of-pocket costs caused by your injury
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and scarring
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium, enjoyment of life, support, services, companionship, and society
Is It Possible to File a Personal Injury Claim Against Your Employer?
In most situations, it’s not possible to file personal injury claims against an employer. Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, employers are “immune” from these personal injury lawsuits from their employees. Because of this, most employees can only file a workers’ compensation claim.
There are exceptions. If you believe your situation is one of these exceptions, you should speak to an attorney.
Contact an Attorney to Learn More About Your Legal Rights
As you can see, there are situations when you will need a workers’ compensation attorney and other situations when you need a personal injury lawyer.
If you are injured on the job, you can recover workers’ compensation benefits and need a workers’ compensation attorney. If you are injured on the job, and a third party causes your injuries, then filing a personal injury lawsuit with the help of a personal injury attorney is recommended.
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