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The Differences Between Personal Injury and Worker’s Compensation Claims That You Need to Know

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Workers compensation claims are, of course, different than personal injury claims but identifying those differences and understanding when it is in your best interest to file each type of claim can be tricky. Significantly, the main differences between the two are who is at fault and the damages you can receive based on the type of claim. 

Determining Who is at Fault 

Worker’s compensation claims are in place to protect workers who become injured at work.  When you decide to file a worker’s compensation claim, you don’t have to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other party actually caused the injury. Employees are entitled to receive worker’s compensations even if they are negligent and their negligence caused the injury. This is because an employee would not have sustained injuries had they not been on the job, even if the resulting injury is their fault.

Personal injury claims, however, differ from worker’s compensation claims in that there must be some identifiable party to attribute fault to. In other words, in order to file a personal injury suit someone must be found to be “at fault.” Often, this involves some form of negligence. For example, if you are rear-ended, you must prove that it was the other driver’s negligence that caused the accident in order to be successful in your personal injury claim. 

Pain and Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering is the legal term for the physical and emotional stress that flows from and caused from an injury. In some cases, victims are able to recover pain and suffering damages among other types of compensation. Another key difference between worker’s compensation and personal injury claims is if you file a worker’s compensation claim, you are not entitled to benefits for pain and suffering. Typically, though, in a worker’s compensation claim you can receive weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation. 

However, in a personal injury claim, you are entitled to recover all of the damages that you have suffered. These damages can include present and future medical expenses, lost earnings, lost earning capacity, loss of enjoyment of life, and pain and suffering, among others.

Right to Sue 

Generally, worker’s compensation will eliminate the ability to file a suit against an employer.  The worker’s compensation laws ensure that all workers who become injured on the job get some weekly benefits and would get medical bills paid. The tradeoff is that the injured worker loses the right to sue their employer and/or co-worker for negligence and loses the right to collect damages for pain and suffering. However, if an employer’s intentional act caused your injury, you may still be able to file a lawsuit to collect damages for pain and suffering. 

Limitations to the Claims 

Generally, worker’s compensation will eliminate the ability to file a suit against an employer. Furthermore, worker’s compensation claims are restricted to employees of a company unlike personal injury claims which can be filed by anybody. Not all employers are required to have worker’s compensation coverage within their workplace. State laws vary and depend on how many employees your company has. Kansas law states that every employer, with a few exceptions, needs to carry worker’s compensation coverage. These exceptions include employers in certain agricultural work and employers with a gross payroll of $20,000 or less per year. Missouri law states employers are required to carry worker’s compensation insurance if the company has 5 or more employees, unless you are in the construction industry, then you must carry worker’s compensation insurance if you have one or more employees. If your company does not have worker’s compensation insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Contact an Attorney Today

Sustaining an injury is stressful enough without having to file claims and deal with insurance companies. To better understand your case, your options, and the best route for you, contact Grover Law Firm and we will help you secure the settlement you deserve.