Do You Have a Workers’ Compensation or Personal Injury Case?
If you have been injured at work, should you file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim? In general, injuries at work are associated with workers’ compensation. However, in certain cases, an injured worker might also have a personal injury case. Let’s take a look at the differences between these types of claims.
No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Vs. Personal Injury Law
A personal injury case requires the victim to prove that a negligent party caused their injuries. On the other hand, workers’ compensation claims do not require proof of negligence. The injured worker need only prove that the injury occurred while on the job. In workers’ compensation claims, the employer might not necessarily be at fault. For instance, a worker who injures himself while lifting a heavy box can qualify for a workers’ compensation claim because the injury occurred while he was at work. However, he does not likely have a personal injury case because his injury was not the result of another person’s negligence.
Another important difference between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims is the amount of compensation the victim can recover. Workers’ compensation laws enforce strict limits on the amount of damages a worker can recover. There are no limits to how much compensation you can seek in a personal injury case. Of course, if the liable party’s insurance company is involved in the case, the liable party’s policy limits can have an effect on the compensation you can recover.
Limits on Workers’ Compensation Damages
A workers’ compensation settlement also places limits on the types of damages you can seek. Unlike personal injury claims, you cannot seek damages for pain and suffering in a workers’ comp case. You can only receive a weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, compensation for medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation.
Suing Your Employer
The tradeoff for workers’ compensation benefits is losing the right to sue your employer when you are injured at work. Because no proof of negligence is needed in a workers’ comp claim, workers cannot sue their employer for personal injuries. However, if someone other than your employer was the at-fault party, you might have a personal injury claim. For instance, if you were seriously injured using a defective machine at work, you might be able to pursue a personal injury claim against the manufacturer and/or supplier of the unsafe machine. Or if you slip and fall in your office building while working, you might be able to make a case against the building owners, if they are not your employers. In instances like these, you might also be able to pursue a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury case.
“If you have been injured at work, consult an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible to determine the best way to seek compensation,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
Our firm has been handling personal injury cases throughout the California Low Desert and High Desert communities for over 30 years. With a 95% success rate, the California personal injury attorneys at Walter Clark Legal Group will fight to hold those responsible for your loss accountable and win compensation to cover medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If you have been injured in an accident and want to discuss your legal options, contact us today at (760) 777-7777 for a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer. We have offices in Indio, Rancho Mirage, Victorville, and Yucca Valley and represent clients through the entire California Low Desert and High Desert communities.
DISCLAIMER: The Walter Clark Legal Group blog is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal or medical advice. References to laws are based on general legal practices and vary by location. Information reported comes from secondary news sources. We do handle these types of cases, but whether or not the individuals and/or loved ones involved in these accidents choose to be represented by a law firm is a personal choice we respect. Should you find any of the information incorrect, we welcome you to contact us with corrections.