A lot of people think that any instance in which someone is hurt falls under the category of “personal injury.” This is untrue. A workers compensation case is when someone gets hurt on the job by something having to do with their employment. Similarly, a medical malpractice claim is appropriate when there has been an injury because of a medical center, rehabilitation center, doctor, hospital, or other medical professional has fallen below the standard of care for their area within the medical profession. A personal injury claim is all other injury claims that do not arise from work or medical situations. There is a great deal of overlap between the three types of cases, but ultimately they are different from each other and require different expertise to handle them properly. Each state has different laws in place and different statutes that govern how these types of cases are to proceed. Each state places different restrictions on the amount of potential compensation available under each type of claim.
Workers Compensation Claims
Injuries can occur in the workplace during working hours. Categorizing these as a personal injury or a worker’s compensation claim would actually depend on various factors. For instance, you may have fallen at work by accident. It can either be a worker’s compensation claim or a personal injury claim, depending on the specific situation. Basically, worker’s compensation covers all of the specific conditions that are stipulated to in the contract. Employers provide workers compensation insurance for their workers’ benefit. It does not necessarily mean that a worker can no longer file for a personal injury claim especially if the injured worker believes and has evidence to prove that the employer is at fault.
How does worker’s compensation and personal injury claims differ?
Proven physical or emotional distress in a personal injury claim entitles you to such damages. On the other hand, worker’s compensation does not cover suffering and pain. When filing for worker’s compensation claim, it is usually given in periodic payments while a personal injury claim is usually given lump sum.
Right to Sue
If you file for a worker’s compensation claim, technically you forego your right to sue your employer. But this is different for personal injury cases as you can file a case in court against your employer and still seek just compensation.
When filing for a personal injury claim, one determines that there is a responsible party. Those who file for personal injury cases would cite negligence or direct responsibility by the employer. The workers compensation policy includes specific injuries even when the employer is not at fault.
For a worker who incurred injuries, the next step is to know which legal options to take. There are different factors that you have to take into consideration. Who is responsible or liable for the injury? Did you get injured while at work? You also need to assess if the injury only happened once or if it is a recurring condition.
Knowing the legal options can help but hiring a lawyer can assist you with the best legal options to take. More importantly, a lawyer can advise you on what steps to take in filing for a claim.
Do you need a lawyer for personal injury or workers’ compensation claims?
The answer is, it depends. In many workers compensation claims, the injured employee is fully able to resolve any issues with the workers compensation fund (“WCF”). However, if you are injured while at work and WCF denies your claim, then you should meet with a personal injury attorney to advise you on your potential case. Since it is typically free to meet with either a personal injury attorney or a workers’ compensation attorney, we would recommend that you take the time to receive counsel from an attorney and hire them to represent you if you feel that their services would be helpful in your situation.
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