If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you might be confused about the differences between personal injury and workers' compensation claims. Understanding when and how to pursue a claim can be complicated, so it is important to understand the distinction between these two types of claims. In this blog post, we will explore the key differences between personal injury and workers' compensation claims and discuss how they work in tandem.
Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim occurs when a person is injured due to the negligence or fault of another person or entity. This type of claim is based on civil law, not criminal law. To successfully win a personal injury case, a plaintiff must prove that their injuries were caused by the defendant's careless or reckless behavior. The types of damages that can be awarded in a personal injury case include:
- Medical costs
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages (if warranted by the severity of the situation)
Workers' Compensation Claims
Workers' compensation is a type of insurance provided by employers to cover any medical expenses incurred by an employee who has been injured while on the job. This type of insurance also covers lost wages during an employee's recovery period as long as they are certified disabled by their doctor.
Depending on state laws, certain benefits may also be provided for permanent disabilities or death that occur while on the job. Unlike personal injury claims, where a plaintiff has to prove fault against another party involved in order to receive compensation for their injuries, with workers' compensation, there is no need for proof of fault. However, workers' compensation does not provide coverage for pain and suffering like personal injury does.
Types of Workers' Compensation Benefits
Workers' compensation is an invaluable resource for injured workers, offering a safety net for necessary expenses incurred during recovery. There are many types of benefits typically provided by workers' compensation, including:
- Lost wages and income
- Payment of medical expenses
- Retraining or vocational rehabilitation expenses
- Death benefits in case of fatality
These benefits can make all the difference in the lives of people enduring difficult injury situations and can provide vital financial help when an injured worker needs it most. Workers' compensation offers both security and peace of mind to those who have suffered a workplace injury and ensures that they are taken care of.
It's important to note that workers' compensation protects employers from lawsuits, even if their negligence resulted in your injury. There are a few exceptions.
How the Two Can Work Together
In some cases, a personal injury claim can be brought into the realm of workers' compensation when an employee receives an injury while at work due to someone else's negligence (other than the employer) or if it can be shown that the employer had a direct intent to harm them.
For example, if a construction worker falls from the top of a defective ladder or is injured as a result of an equipment malfunction, then both worker's comp and a personal injury claim could be pursued simultaneously since it would involve both a workplace injury (worker's comp) as well as another party's negligence (personal injury). In the scenario above, this personal injury claim (also called a third-party claim in the context of workers' compensation) could be filed against a manufacturer of defective or unsafe equipment.
It is important for anyone who has been injured at work to understand their rights under both workers' comp laws as well as civil law so that they can make informed decisions about pursuing legal action against any other responsible parties. Understanding the distinctions between these two types of claims can go a long way toward ensuring that employees receive all necessary financial assistance for their injuries following workplace accidents.
How a Hollywood, FL Workers' Compensation Attorney Can Help
At Rosenberg & Rosenberg, P.A., we understand the complexities of workers' compensation law and how it intersects with personal injury claims. Our experienced lawyers are available to answer all of your questions and help you develop an effective strategy for pursuing damages after a workplace accident.
Contact us today at (888) 499-6206 to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help.