No one wants to be injured, especially while on the job, but sometimes accidents are inevitable. We live in a world full of dangers, especially when considering how many of us come into contact with large machinery every single day. Cars, pallet jacks, and even household appliances can lead to serious injury, in addition to more mundane accidents like tripping and falling on an uneven piece of pavement.
Whether you’re in a car crash or break a finger while moving objects around the workplace, you want to focus on healing and getting back to normal as soon as possible. Unfortunately, rehabilitation for any form of injury can be incredibly expensive, which is why you may need to consider how to receive compensation for this from another party.
Two of the most well-known ways to do this are to submit a workers’ compensation claim or to pursue a personal injury settlement. One of the most obvious differences between these two avenues of redress is that one is solely for occupational injuries, while the other can cover a broad spectrum of accidents, from dog bites to nursing home falls. But there are even more variations between the two that you may not know about, which is what we’re going to explore in this article. Here are the major differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury settlement – as well as a very important similarity.
Workers’ compensation does not require you to prove someone was at fault, but personal injury does
With workers’ compensation, all that you need to prove in order to submit your claim is that you were injured, and that you were injured as a result of fulfilling your obligations to your employer. It doesn’t matter whether this was due to negligence on the behalf of the employer or an entirely unexpected accident: all that matters is that you’re hurt and it happened in relation to your work responsibilities.
In contrast, personal injury lawsuits have higher standards. You need to prove you were injured, that the injury has impacted your quality of life, and that another party was responsible for your injury, either through negligence or blatant disregard of human life.
You usually cannot pursue both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims
In most cases, you can’t sue your employer for workplace injuries; this is because workers’ compensation is supposed to cover your medical expenses. Because workers’ compensation is solely to pay for your medical bills and lost wages, it generally provides a smaller settlement than a personal injury suit, because it doesn’t consider issues like emotional damages or future medical needs. Workers’ compensation will also only pay a portion of your lost wages, while successful personal injury settlements will pay your full wages and any lost earning potential.
The exceptions to when you can sue your workplace for your injury are very specific, and they usually don’t apply. However, if you work with a lawyer, they can advise you on whether it’s at all possible to file a personal injury lawsuit based on the facts of the case.
Workers’ compensation claims are much faster
The benefit of workers’ compensation in comparison to personal injury settlements is that it is generally resolved much faster than a personal injury lawsuit, especially with the assistance of a lawyer. This is because there’s no need to prove fault, only that you were injured in the course of your duties. Insurers are obligated to start paying for your lost earnings within a set period of time, as the law recognizes that you require this money right away.
In contrast, personal injury lawsuits can drag on for months, even years depending on the complexity of the case. This is because you will need to prove that the other party is at fault, and this can sometimes be difficult to determine and successfully argue in a court of law. In the meantime, you’ll have to pay all those medical bills by yourself, which can quickly become incredibly expensive.
For both workers’ compensation and personal injury, you should consult an experienced attorney
It’s tempting to try to deal with insurance companies or your employer on your own, but this can be a costly mistake. No matter who you are dealing with or how you are injured, insurance companies and compensation funds want to minimize how much they pay out to assist you.
This is why you need someone to advocate for you and guide you through the process, and there’s no better advocate than a qualified personal injury law firm. These firms often handle both workers’ compensation and personal injury, and they can help you gather the evidence necessary for either type of case. They will also negotiate with insurance forms or workers’ compensation boards on your behalf in order to present the facts of the matter as clearly and persuasively as possible.
None of want to be hurt, but when we are, it’s important to seek counsel from those with great experience in these matters, whether that is workers’ compensation or personal injury. If you’ve been injured on the job or off it, reach out of a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.