Although the terms are often misunderstood, there is a difference between a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury one. Although some of the specifics of the laws are similar, there are also some major differences that separate the two. The main differences are the types of compensation a person has available for their injuries, and the requirements needed to prove their case.
The biggest difference between a worker’s’ compensation suit and a personal injury lawsuit is that you don’t need to prove fault in a workers’ compensation claim. To win a personal injury suit, you have to prove that your injuries were due to someone’s negligence. Just because you broke your arm while on the job doesn’t mean that it is someone else’s fault. So you might be eligible for workers’ compensation in those circumstances. But to make it a personal injury suit, you would have to have proof that the water pooled on the floor caused your broken arm and it wasn’t while you were on the job for instance, in order to claim personal injury.
Accidents happen all the time where there is no known negligence on the part of one party. To recover damages in a personal injury suit, however, you have to prove that your injuries were caused through someone else’s negligence and that it wasn’t just an “accident” or mishap. If you are injured in a car accident, you have to prove that the other motorist caused the accident in order to claim a personal injury suit.
Workers’ Compensation claims
When it comes to workers’ compensation claims, however, no fault needs to be assigned for a person to recover for damages and injuries. Workers’ compensation benefits aren’t based on fault; they are insurance that a company takes out to cover workers who get injured while on the job, whether it was due to negligence or not. A workers’ compensation claim has nothing to do with blame or negligence on the part of the company or the corporation. Even if an accident is completely due to the negligence of the worker themselves, it is covered under workers’ compensation.
The second difference — damages
Another difference between workers’ compensation suits and personal injury suits are that in workers’ compensation claims you cannot recover for things like pain and suffering. You are entitled to have your medical bills covered, but you can’t collect for the pain that you went through.
In a personal injury suit, you are allowed to recover for any damages that you had including pain and suffering. Other things that you can recover for in a personal injury are lost earning capacity, lost earnings, the loss of enjoyment and quality of life going forward, pain and suffering, medical bills and any future medical costs that you may have.
Workers’ compensation will only cover a worker for their weekly compensation, medical bills, vocational rehabilitation and permanent impairment benefits. You can’t receive any recovery for your pain and suffering, which is built into the workers’ compensation coverage.
The trade-off that businesses made to establish workers’ compensation was that they would cover an injured worker if they were hurt on the job, but that the business would not be responsible for pain and suffering. Before workers’ compensation, the only recourse an injured worker had was to sue for personal injury. The problem was that this tied up the courts and forced employees either to go without compensation or to sue their employer with no guarantee of winning.
You can’t bring a personal injury suit against your employer or co-workers
Due to workers’ compensation laws, if you are injured on the job and make a workers’ compensation claim, then you aren’t allowed to sue your employer. When workers’ compensation was started, employees lost the right to sue their employer due to work-related injuries, whether the employer was negligent or not. Even if the injury was caused by a third-party co-worker, the workers’ compensation laws disallow workers the ability to sue their employer.
There are only two industries where you are still able to sue your employer. If you are a crew member on a vessel or ship or if you work as a railroad employee for an interstate railroad company, you may still sue and recover for pain and suffering.
So if you are injured on the job, you can’t sue your employer for pain and suffering. According to injury lawyer san francisco in workers’ compensation claims, as opposed to a personal injury suit, the law has taken away your right to fully recover the same damages as if you were injured while not on the job, regardless of negligence or fault.