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Current Workers' Compensation News & Articles

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Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

Some incidents at the workplace can be valid candidates for either a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim. It is a good idea to understand the factors involved in both types of cases before deciding which claim to file, however.

One of the biggest differences is the type of incident that each type of case requires. In personal injury cases, the court requires proof that the defending party was required to take an action that would have prevented the injury.

For example, consider a slip and fall case that happens on a wet floor. If an employer does not take any steps to mitigate the risk of slipping (such as putting up wet floor signs), you might have a personal injury claim. However, if feasible precautions were taken, the employer would not be subject to a personal injury lawsuit.

Benefits of Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation Claims

In addition to differences in how to start each case, there are also differences in how each type of claim is typically paid. There are pros and cons to each type of claim, so it is important to carefully consider each if you might be able to pursue either.

Personal injury claims are usually paid in a one-time settlement intended to cover all damages related to the incident. This can be a good way to help cover high medical costs. However, it might also be harder to predict the total cost of an injury, particularly when adding subjective factors such as emotional stress.

On the other hand, workers’ compensation can be distributed in smaller payments over time. This can help significantly with ongoing medical treatments and similar costs. Workers’ compensation cases also do not need to prove that an employer was negligent, so this is usually the best course of action when there was no clear act of wrongdoing on the part of the employer.

The negative aspect of filing workers’ compensation is that it can take a few months to start receiving benefits even after the claim is approved. This can lead to more financial burdens in the short-term.

Determining which course of action is right for you depends on the unique features of your case. For cases with many different factors involved in the incident, it may not be immediately clear who is at fault or if personal injury laws even apply.

Finding the Right Lawyer for Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Cases

Another challenge comes from the fact that different areas of law can operate differently. Consulting with an attorney before proceeding is an effective way to determine how to move forward with your case, as an experienced attorney can assess the viability of different claims.