An employee who is injured at a work site can either file a personal injury case or a workers’ compensation claim. Many people wrongly assume that the two are one and the same, when in reality, they are significantly different.
Personal injury lawsuits relate to different types of injuries that include injuries sustained at a worksite, whereas a workers’ compensation claim is limited to workplace injuries. There are many other differences between the two. Here we will learn the main differences between the two terms, and also when to file a specific claim in the event of an injury at your workplace.
Workplace Injury Claim Vs Personal Injury Lawsuit
The most obvious difference between the two is the location where the case is filed. Workplace injury claims are filed with the employer, while personal injury cases are filed in the local court where the worksite is located.
Another difference between these two is the amount of compensation for the injuries. Generally, the amount that is obtained in a workers’ compensation claim is less than what is obtained after filing a personal liability injury case. However, this is not necessarily the case in every situation and depends on the insurance coverage offered by the employer.
In some cases, the worker is fully compensated for the injuries received at the workplace by filing a workers’ compensation claim. Employees who do not receive adequate workplace compensation for their injuries usually take the matter to court by filing a personal injury case. Since most states in the US do not have any caps on the amount an employee can receive from a personal injury lawsuit, the awards can reach thousands or even millions of dollars.
The third important point of difference is that the fault needs to be proved in court to obtain compensation from the employer in a personal injury case. However, this is not the case with workers’ compensation claims.
Lastly, employees cannot sue their employers if they are fully compensated for their injuries through workers’ compensation claims. However, in the event that a worker is not offered adequate compensation or is not covered by any workers’ compensation laws, as is the case with interstate railroad workers and crewmembers of vessels, he/she has the option of suing the employer by filing a personal injury case.
Workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits are two different ways of obtaining compensation for injuries. The amount of compensation, legal process, and laws relating the two are not the same. One final point of difference between the two is that although the pay-out is often much larger in the case of a personal injury case, it takes a long time to finalize compared to a workers’ compensation claim. It is therefore important that you choose wisely when deciding which of the two is the better option for you.