July 23, 2019

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Personal Injury Claims and Workers’ Compensation, What’s the Difference?


Both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are means of receiving money after an injury to “make one whole again.” Workers’ compensation only occurs for injuries that are suffered while you are working for your employer while personal injury claims can be made for injuries suffered in any number of other situations. Each type of claim involves different processes and has very different benefits and drawbacks. You need to understand the aspects of both in order to determine which solution can benefit you the most in case of an injury.

The starting point for both types of claims is to consult with an experienced workers’ comp or personal injury attorney. The attorney will be able to evaluate your situation, how and where the accident occurred and whether or not you have a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim.

Workers’ Compensation

The largest difference between a personal injury claim and workers’ compensation is a matter of fault. When you file for workers’ compensation, you do not necessarily need to prove that your employer was at fault for your injuries. The idea is that “if you are injured on the job, then you are entitled to compensation.” However, the money that you receive for workers’ compensation may be limited and it will be very hard to fight for more compensation. Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance paid for by your employer. When you are hurt on the job, workers’ compensation benefits provide payment for medical expenses, pays a fraction of your weekly wage while you are unable to work, and provides a settlement if you are permanently disabled as a result of your injury.

There are limitations to workers’ compensation benefits. To begin with, you may only receive workers’ compensation if you were hurt while working, needed medical treatment for your injury, and needed to take time off work due to your injury. Additionally, workers’ compensation was developed to protect the rights of both the employer and employee, thus laws are in place that prohibit you from suing your employers or coworkers in most cases. In most cases, if you are eligible to file for worker’s compensation, you may be forced to give up your right to file a personal injury claim against your employer.

You should note, however, that in some limited circumstances, some employers are not subject to workers’ compensation rules. In addition, even if you were injured on the job, you may have a “third party claim” if your injury was caused by someone other than your employer – for example, if it was caused by defective machinery, you might have a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the equipment.

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims typically, but not always, involve injuries caused outside of the work environment and are handled through the civil justice situation. Most personal injury claims are resolved through settlement, but a small percentage of claims go to trial before a judge and/or a jury. In that case, the judge and/or jury determine liability and award monetary damages.

In a personal injury lawsuit, you need to introduce testimony and other evidence to prove that the party or person who caused your injury is at fault. When you file for a personal injury claim, you and your lawyer will compile evidence that proves the negligence of the defendant or defendants as well as the damages you have sustained. If you are not able to agree with the defendant or insurance company on an equitable settlement for your claim, the case will most likely go to trial.

Your damages include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. An experienced lawyer is usually required to accurately calculate how much you should be compensated for your damages. Remember, consulting a personal injury lawyer is always free, and may allow you to receive payment for damages that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover.

About Zac Pingle

Zac Pingle was born in Florida, and grew up in several places across the United States. From a young age, Zac developed a taste for writing, reading under trees and getting into trouble. Currently, Zac resides in Oregon as a college student where he aspires to become an English professor.