I Am Injured. Now What? Should I File a Workers’ Compensation Claim or a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

When you are injured as a direct result of someone else’s negligence, it can be problematic to discern in which category—workers’ compensation or personal injury—the incident belongs. Educating yourself about the primary differences between the two could alleviate some of the disorienting and puzzling questions that abound when you are injured and don’t know what steps to take next.   

Personal Injury Lawsuit Overview

Unlike workers’ compensation claims, personal injury lawsuits are not specific to a subcategory of people or situations. Anyone who suffers an injury triggered by an at-fault party has the right to file a personal injury lawsuit. To recover damages, however, the injured individual must provide sufficient evidence to support their claim that the other party is responsible for their injury. In addition, the injured party must substantiate the validity and monetary value of their claim by specifying the amount of damage incurred to either their property, physical functionality, psychological health, and/or earning capacity (due to lost wages, time off work, or medical incapacitation).

While personal injury demands are chiefly compensation based, the injured party also has the right to seek payment for the emotional distress they’ve endured. When an injured person is deprived of their right to live a full life due to a physically debilitating injury, that in turn inhibits their psychological, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Therefore, if applicable, plaintiffs may also demand settlement for “pain and suffering” (in addition to the more prevalent demands for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, and loss of future earning capacity that injured parties typically request).

Workers’ Compensation Overview

Workers’ compensation benefits are available to a worker who is injured in the scope of their employment, and no evidence of fault must be provided in order for benefits to be dispensed. The only stipulations of a workers’ compensation claim that must be established are: (a) that the injury was sustained while working and (b) that the injury is associated with the duties the worker executes.

Through workers’ compensation, an injured employee receives: non-taxable income compensation of an amount equivalent to approximately two-thirds of their weekly or bi-weekly wage earnings, medical care, recompense for permanent damage, and reimbursement for essential position retraining.

Commonly Overlooked Areas of Overlap

Workers’ compensation can yield monetary rewards to injured individuals that were working when the injury occurred. However, there are frequently ignored situations in which an injured employee would benefit from pursuing a personal injury claim as well:

  • A product defect is responsible for the injury and a products liability lawsuit could be filed against the manufacturer
  • A toxic substance is responsible for the injury and a toxic tort lawsuit could be filed against the manufacturer
  • An injury occurs in a workplace setting in which the employer is not mandated to carry workers’ compensation insurance OR the employer has failed to comply with the mandate
  • An employer or fellow worker intentionally causes an injury
  • An injury is suffered because of the negligence of a third party, someone other than an employer or a fellow worker

If you (or someone you know) has been injured and you are unsure of what kind of claim you may have, please do not hesitate to contact Inserra Kelley Sewell, Personal Injury Attorneys. Our dedicated team of attorneys and legal professionals can help you determine– not just the value of your claim—but how many claims you actually have. Unfortunately, too many injury sufferers underestimate the intricate complexity of the incident that resulted in their painful circumstances. Our primary goal at Inserra | Kelley | Sewell, Injury Attorneys is to lead you through the baffling maze of personal injury litigation so that you can focus on healing, recovery, and a return to living a full, balanced life.