When you think about someone being injured on the job, workers’ compensation and personal injury claims often come to mind. However, this raises the question—Are workers’ compensation and personal injury cases the same? While both types of claims involve compensation for injured employees, there are some important differences between the two.
What is Workers’ Compensation?
Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides financial benefits and medical care for workers who have been hurt or become ill because of their job. In New York, employers pay for this coverage, and their insurance carriers pay for benefits.
Workers’ compensation is not a fault-based system meaning that benefit amounts are not paid according to liability. However, if a worker is determined to have been injured solely because they intended to hurt themselves or because of their drug or alcohol intoxication, they may lose their right to workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation claims can be paid by agreement. Alternatively, a workers’ compensation law judge can evaluate the evidence and determine whether the worker should be paid. A worker who is unable to return to work because of their injury may also be entitled to additional benefits.
Personal Injury Cases
Workers’ compensation claims are only connected to compensation for work-related injuries or death. By contrast, personal injury claims can be raised when someone is harmed due to another party’s reckless or negligent behavior. In addition, these claims can be raised for various types of injuries, such as those associated with car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall incidents, sexual abuse, and other harm.
What About Work-Related Injuries?
Generally, if you have been injured on the job, you can pursue compensation through the workers’ compensation process. However, there are certain exceptions that allow an injured worker to file suit against their employer for work-related injuries. If your employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for your work-related injury. Employers can also be sued for causing an injury that is not work-related.
Other Work-Related Injuries
Another basis for a personal injury claim may arise if a third party hurts a worker. For instance, suppose a worker is driving and delivering an order when a negligent driver strikes them. In that case, the injured party may have a claim against the person who caused their harm even though it occurred while they were working. Likewise, if a worker is harmed by a defective product that they are using while working, they may have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer.
Proving a Personal Injury Claim v. Workers’ Compensation Claim
As indicated above, workers’ compensation is not a fault-based system. Therefore, in many instances, a worker will be paid workers’ compensation benefits regardless of their level of responsibility for the injury. In comparison, most personal injury cases require that a claimant prove that another party was negligent, reckless, or intentional in their conduct.
Workers’ compensation claims can result in payment for economic damages related to medical expenses, lost earnings, and occupational disability. By comparison, personal injury cases can involve claims for economic costs and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. In addition, if the responsible party’s actions were egregious, there may also be grounds for punitive damages in a personal injury case.
Personal injury and workers’ compensation claims can be complicated, and it’s important that you have the right information, support, and advice. The best way to learn about personal injury and workers’ compensation claims is to consult with an experienced attorney. Your personal injury lawyer can help you understand both types of claims and evaluate your case.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one have been harmed at work, you should schedule a free consultation with the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bonina & Bonina, PC. Our attorneys have experience litigating and mediating personal injury cases and are here to help!
Call us at 1888-MEDLAW1 or contact us online for a free consultation. We have experience helping clients with personal injury cases, and we can explain your options and help you decide what actions you should take. At Bonina & Bonina, PC, we come to work daily believing that there should be equal justice for all. Se Habla Espaňol. Home and hospital visits are available.