Categories: Law

Lawsuit vs Workers’ Comp: How To Know Which Path You Should Pursue After An Injury

If you have been injured while on the job, you have options if it’s necessary to claim compensation for your injuries. Employers are required to offer workers’ compensation to their workers if they have a certain number of employees working for them. There is also the option of suing your employer for damages by filing a personal injury claim. To determine which one is the better option for you after you are injured at the workplace while you are working, it’s important to know the differences between workers’ compensation and a personal injury case.

What is the Biggest Difference Between Workers’ Comp and a Personal Injury Case?

In general, the biggest difference between workers’ comp and a personal injury case involves the issue of fault. If there was no fault of your employer involved in your injury, it would be more appropriate to file a claim for workers’ compensation benefits. However, if you were injured due to negligence on the part of your employer, such as if there was a wet, slippery floor and there was no warning of it, and you slipped and fell and got injured, filing a personal injury claim would be the better option.

Workers’ Compensation Explained

In a workers’ compensation claim, something unexpected happens that causes an employee’s injury. Sometimes, an injury can build up over time, such as in the case of carpal tunnel syndrome. Any employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits if they are injured while on the job. There are some exceptions to this rule, but they are minor. Fault does not come into play when workers’ compensation is involved. That means that you are not required to prove that your employer or coworkers did anything that led to your injury. Even if you acted in a negligent manner, you can still receive workers’ compensation benefits.

Personal Injury Cases Explained

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In a personal injury case, the element of fault has to be involved in the individual’s injury. The workplace should be maintained in a manner that ensures the safety of all of its employees so that accidents don’t occur that can lead to an injury. Using the slip and fall example again, if you are at work and the floors were mopped but there is no warning or indication of that and you walked on the wet floor, fell and sustained a back injury as a result, it would be grounds to file a personal injury case against your employer. If you are located in Nevada and believe you have grounds for this type of case, it’s wise to look into law firms like Ahlander Injury Law, a group of personal injury lawyers in Las Vegas has to offer so one can represent you.

Difference in Damages in Workers’ Comp Claim vs Personal Injury Suit

Although you can collect compensation for an injury with a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit, both have differences in the damages you can claim. In a workers’ compensation case, you cannot claim benefits for pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, you can recover compensation for pain and suffering and any other damages you have endured. For example, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, permanent impairment, future medical expenses and more can be claimed when you file a personal injury lawsuit.

With workers’ compensation, you can only receive compensation on a weekly basis, for medical bills, permanent impairment and for rehabilitation. Additional benefits that can be claimed in a personal injury case cannot be collected because workers’ compensation is essentially an agreement between the employer and employee in case the worker is injured on the job.

You Can’t Sue Your Employer if You File a Workers’ Comp Case

One thing that is very important to note is that if you choose to file a workers’ compensation claim after suffering an on-the-job injury, you cannot sue your employer for your personal injury. When you file a workers’ compensation case, you bypass the right to sue your employer – or a coworker – for negligence that might have led to your injury.

Overall, it’s important to determine the best course of action for you if you are injured at work. Knowing your rights and the differences between workers compensation and a personal injury lawsuit are crucial.

Lizzie W: Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball. You can find her on Twitter @LizzieWeakley.

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