If you suffered an injury at the workplace, you might be wondering whether to file a personal injury lawsuit or a workers’ compensation claim. Whether you can file one or the other depends on different circumstances.
The following are the differences between personal injury and workers’ comp claims:
- Fault – To file a personal injury lawsuit, the injured party must establish fault in order to recover financial compensation. In most cases, lawsuits are based on negligence. By contrast, the injured party doesn’t need to establish fault to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. Even if an injured worker was negligent prior to the accident, he/she is still entitled to workers’ comp benefits.
- Ability to sue – According to workers’ compensation laws, all workers are eligible for benefits. In return, they lose their right to sue their employers and co-workers in the event of a workplace accident caused by their negligence.
- Damages – In a personal injury case, injured parties are entitled to both economic (e.g. medical bills, lost wages, etc.) and noneconomic damages (e.g. pain and suffering, emotional distress, etc.). On the other hand, workers’ comp benefits include payments for medical expenses, weekly compensation, and even vocational training. Injured workers are not able to recover noneconomic damages.
So, if you are hurt while performing your job duties, you will most likely receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, it may be possible to file both a personal injury lawsuit and workers’ compensation claim.
For instance, if your workplace injury was caused by a third party who is not affiliated with your employer, then you may file a separate personal injury lawsuit against that third party. The compensation from the personal injury lawsuit can provide workers with noneconomic damages.
If you have suffered an injury in Pasadena caused by a negligent party, contact Tedford & Associates and schedule a free case evaluation today.