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The Difference Between Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation Claims

On Behalf of | Apr 6, 2022 | Workplace Injury

Being injured at work is never ideal, but perhaps the most difficult part for many people is trying to navigate the subsequent lawsuit process alone. Legal jargon and industry nuances can make it challenging to determine the differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims, and the similarities between the two might make them seem indistinguishable. However, while often intertwined, workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims are very different, and it’s important to know the distinctions between them. Having a comprehensive understanding of the nuances between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims will enable you to pursue the maximum amount of compensation available to you. Below, our team of Baltimore personal injury attorneys explains the difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims.

Article Overview:

  • Differences between the two types of claims
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Workplace personal injury claims
  • Determining fault in a personal injury case
  • Types of compensation and damages

What’s the difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims?

The biggest and most important difference between the two types of claims is that a personal injury claim is based on fault, while a workers’ compensation case is not. To recover damages against someone for any type of personal injury claim, the other person must be negligent. Personal injury claims in relation to accidents in the workplace are no different.

Additionally, the compensation available must be taken into consideration. At times, workers’ compensation can be faster, but you could be entitled to more extensive damages under a personal injury claim. See below for more information on differences in compensation.

To prove negligence, the plaintiff must first prove the defendant owed them a duty of care, or a responsibility to avoid causing harm to another. Once that duty is established, the plaintiff’s job is to establish how the defendant violated or breached that standard. The plaintiff also has to have suffered injuries. The final step involves connecting these elements by arguing that the breached duty of care caused the injuries. In order to have a successful negligence case, all four of these conditions must be met.

What is a workers’ compensation claim?

A workers’ compensation claim is the standard legal proceeding for an employee who is injured at work. Contrary to personal injury claims, proving fault is not required to receive workers’ compensation benefits. In fact, even if you were negligent, and that negligence caused the injury, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

What is a personal injury claim?

While workers’ compensation claims are exclusive to workers, personal injury claims are not limited to employees of a business or corporation . Instead, anyone who is injured due to the negligence of the business or corporation can file a personal injury claim against them. This broad scope of who can initiate a personal injury claim of course includes workers, so long as the victim and their attorney can prove the place of employment was at fault or negligent, ultimately resulting in injuries.

Can I file a personal injury claim against my employer?

It’s important to note that in most cases, you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer. Under the no-fault workers’ compensation system, employers cannot be sued for most personal injury lawsuits from their employees. However, there are exceptions.

The following are all examples of situations in which an employee can bring a personal injury claim against their employer:

  • Your employer intentionally caused your injury
  • Your employer was grossly negligent
  • Your workers’ compensation claim was denied in bad faith
  • Your employer fails to carry workers’ compensation insurance

Workplace personal injury cases are typically complicated, as they often involve multiple responsible parties and a range of compensation. These scenarios can include:

  • Car accident – If you are driving while on the job and are involved in an accident where the other driver is at fault, you can pursue a claim against that driver’s insurance.
  • Premises liability – If while on the job you’re injured by a hazardous condition on someone’s property, you could sue the owner of the property or their insurance company.
  • Third-party negligence – If someone who does not work for the company was negligent and caused your injury, they could be held liable.
  • Toxic exposure – If you become ill because of a substance used at work or another form of exposure, you can file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the substance.

Since workplace personal injury claims are particularly complex, expert personal injury lawyers,such as those at Peter Angelos Law, will be vital in advising your course of action and leading you through your case.

What are the types of damages I can pursue?

Workers’ compensation provides coverage for costs related to work injuries. Typical compensation includes coverage for medical expenses, ongoing care, missed wages during recovery, and compensation for fatal injuries. Below is an in-depth look at the types of damages you may be able to pursue in a workers’ compensation claim:

  • Medical expenses: These damages cover the cost of immediate care, including ambulance rides, emergency room visits, surgeries, medications, hospital visits, and other medical bills.
  • Ongoing care: Bills for continuing medication and physical rehabilitation are also included in possible damages. In other cases, care for repetitive injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, can be covered.
  • Missed wages during recovery: Workers’ compensation will pay for part of the wages lost while an employee is recovering from a workplace injury or illness.
  • Compensation for fatal injuries: When a work-related incident is fatal, death benefits are paid, which includes funeral expenses and support for the decedent’s family.

While workers’ compensation is purely economic, damages for a personal injury lawsuit are compensatory. Because of this distinction, personal injury case damages can include not only medical expenses, lost wages, and loss of future earnings, but also damages for pain and suffering, permanent impairment, or loss of enjoyment of life.

Contact Peter Angelos Law

Employees deserve safe and suitable working conditions. In the event that they are injured on the job, it is important that they’re able to seek compensation for their injuries. The most common avenue to do so is through a workers’ compensation claim. However, in the event of gross negligence or in the absence of workers’ compensation insurance, an employee can bring a personal injury claim against their employer. Because of the intricacies in so many personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, it’s imperative you find an expert workers’ compensation or personal injury attorney to handle your case. Our team at Peter Angelos Law is prepared to advise you on which route to take, guide you through the legal proceedings, and get you the coverage you deserve. For help with your case, contact us today to speak with a member of our team.