After being injured at work, you can apply for a standard workers’ compensation claim for benefits, or you can initiate a personal injury claim. If you feel you might qualify for both claims, how do you decide which option is best for you? Personal injury and workers’ compensation claims differ based on fault and compensation. Read below to find out more.
The central question in a case of an injury at work is whether fault is a consideration in your particular situation. For most workers’ compensation cases, fault isn’t an issue. For personal injury cases, fault is at the center of investigations, and finding fault is the key to having a case in the first place.
In personal injury cases, someone is at fault, and it’s up to the victim to prove that the accident was caused by negligence. This negligence may not be on the employer’s part; it can be attributed to another worker or supplier or a combination of faults depending on the accident.
For example, a worker performs a task using a ladder and falls because the ladder slips. The resulting investigation reveals that the ladder’s rubber feet were missing because they were faulty and fell off. In this case, the ladder manufacturer could carry most of the blame, but the employer may be partially responsible because the equipment wasn’t properly checked.
In most states, workers injured on the job are entitled to compensation. Fault isn’t a consideration, and the employee doesn’t have to prove who was responsible for the accident. Even if the injury was caused by negligence by the employer, a supplier, or another employee, the injured person is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. In some states, like Texas, there’s no compulsory workers’ compensation, which means the injured employee has no other option but to sue for damages.
Compensation or benefit amount
Another issue for consideration when deciding whether to pursue a personal injury claim is compensation. In workers’ compensation, the benefits are determined by law, and amounts are non-negotiable. If a worker suffers a broken ankle and loses six weeks’ work, workers’ compensation will reimburse that worker a set amount. The worker may be out of pocket if their expenses exceed that amount and aren’t covered under any other provision.
Though workers’ compensation will reimburse a worker’s lost wages, pay for retraining (if necessary), and offer permanent impairment benefits, in many states, workers’ compensation includes no coverage for pain and suffering. This exclusion makes the system easier to navigate and easier to administrate, but it may not be fair for all cases.
Personal injury claims cover pain and suffering but also lost earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and future medical expenses, as well as other recompense not covered by workers’ compensation. Many cases fall through the cracks in workers’ compensation, and a personal injury claim may be the victim’s best shot at a fair deal.
Why hiring a lawyer is essential in these cases
Hiring a lawyer puts a highly trained and experienced workers compensation attorney on your side who will fight for your future by identifying every opportunity to get you the compensation you deserve. There are significant differences in how workers’ compensation is administered in every state. An experienced attorney will be able to assess your case and know whether you should pursue a personal injury claim or if workers’ compensation covers your needs.
At LegalASAP, we can ensure you find the best lawyers for personal injury. If you’re searching for legal representations and are having trouble choosing from the dozens of lawyers in the search engine listings, contact LegalASAP today for a free consultation. LegalASAP will help find the right personal injury attorney so you can focus on getting better.