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The Difference Between Personal Injury & Workers' Compensation

When you are injured, you may have legal recourse available to you, depending on the circumstances of how your injury occurred. There are two primary types of injury law: personal injury and workers’ compensation. While these two different practices may have a lot in common, there are also some strong, distinct characteristics that define them as entirely separate types of law. If you’re confused as to which type of claim you should be considering filing, this blog will help you determine the answer.

Fault Requirement

The first and arguably largest difference between personal injury law and workers’ compensation is the requirement of fault. In personal injury law, an injury needs to occur as a result of negligence, or carelessness, on the behalf of a different party. When nobody is at fault, or the only person at fault is the person who was injured, then there is no grounds for filing a suit in personal injury law. However, accidents happen at workplaces all the time. Sometimes there is a party at fault, while other times nobody really could have prevented it. Nonetheless, the employee who is hurt still has the opportunity to file a workers’ compensation claim, even in cases where nobody is clearly at fault.

Different Damages

Another big difference is in the type of damages you can file a claim for in these two different types of law. Workers’ compensation is generally simpler than personal injury law because you can’t claim quite as much. In personal injury, you are entitled to benefits for everything you lose as a result of your accident, including medical bills, lost earnings, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment, loss of companionship, and lots of others.

In workers’ compensation on the other hand, you can only claim your medical bills, rehabilitation, and impairment benefits. So while your employer and their insurance company will pay for your medical bills and replace your lost income, they won’t compensate you for your loss of enjoyment, mental anguish, and other things you might be able to claim in a personal injury case.

You Can’t Sue Your Employer... Usually

Workers’ compensation laws are designed to protect all workers by mandating that employers provide them with insurance and coverage in the event they are injured on the job (as well as protection from consequence for filing a workers’ compensation injury claim). However, the trade-off for this protection is that employees are forbidden from suing their employers for their injuries.

However, there are two exceptions to this. Employees covered by the Jones Act (those who work in maritime industries) are entitled to sue their employers for damages if they’re injured on the job, as well as interstate railroad workers, as authorized by the Federal Employers Liability Act.

Talk to a Martin County injury attorney today to learn more about your legal options if you have been injured. Contact Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC online now to get started with a free case evaluation!