Personal Injury vs. Workers Compensation: What’s the Difference?

When an employee gets hurt on the job, they often have two options: file for personal injury or file for workers compensation. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine the difference between the two types of cases, let alone which one is right for the situation at hand. When filing either a personal injury claim or a workers compensation case, it’s crucial to understand the differences in order to ensure you’re filing the correct claim. To help clarify the differences between personal injury and workers comp, this article provides a brief overview and key differences between the two.

Worker’s Compensation

Workers compensation is an insurance policy managed by the workers compensation boards of individual states. Additionally, there is federal workers compensation insurance that is managed by the federal government. The important thing to remember about opening a workers compensation case is that no proof of fault needs to be made in order to receive benefits. The only thing that needs to be shown is that the injury occurred while on the job and that it is connected to the work the employee was doing at the time.

Fault rarely comes into play during a workers compensation case. Typically, it is only brought up when an employee’s injury is due to an intentional act of an employer or coworker, or when an employee got injured while violating safety regulations.

Personal Injury

Personal injury cases are not limited to a specific class of people. Determining fault plays a key role in winning a personal injury case. Since anyone who was injured due to the negligence of someone else can file a personal injury claim, the injured party must prove that someone else was at fault. When making a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must be able to show proof of the damages that resulted in the negligence.

Personal injury claims can generally be solved outside of the courtroom. In fact, only about 2% of personal injury tort cases make it to trial, while the rest are handled without going to court. These claims are compensatory, and typically include property damage, medical expenses, and lost wages.

Areas of Overlap

Workers comp cases and personal injury cases do have a lot in common. These areas of overlap may include:

  • Injuries involving a defective product
  • Injuries involving a toxic substance
  • Injuries intentionally caused by a coworker or employer
  • Injuries occurring due to the negligence of the third party

Since there is a lot of overlap between the two types of claims, it’s important to consult an attorney. A personal injury lawyer or a workers compensation attorney will be able to help you decide which type of claim would be best for your situation. Injuries can severely impact your financial situation and your ability to continue working, so it would be in your best interest to consult an experienced attorney.