Many people want to know how personal injury cases differ from workers’ compensation claims. They both involve a person seeking compensation for injuries, but they are very different in terms of legal liability, location, and compensation. To figure out which sort of claim your case will involve and what legal rights and responsibilities you will be working with in your case, ask yourself the following questions:
Question 1 – Was Anyone At Fault?
With workers’ compensation claims, it doesn’t matter if anyone was at fault or who was at fault. No matter how the injury may have occurred, an injury or work-related condition that occurs during the course of employment entitles you to workers’ compensation.
With personal injury claims, there must be someone who was at fault for the injury. In third party cases, you have a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim at the same time. For this to happen, the injury would have to occur during the course of employment and also be caused by the negligence of a third party. For example, you might be injured by a defective machine at work. Because the injury occurred at work, you have a workers’ compensation claim. Because the injury occurred due to a defective product, you also have a personal injury claim against the manufacturer of that product.
Question 2 – Where Did the Injury Occur?
With workers’ compensation claims, the injury must have occurred during the course of employment. However, this does not mean that it has to be caused by a single workplace event (like falling or throwing out your back). The injury could be a result of ongoing repetitive motion (like carpal tunnel syndrome), and you would still have a claim as long as the injury is caused by your duties and routines at work.
With personal injury claims, the location where the injury occurred is irrelevant. No matter where you might be (at work, at the grocery store, walking down the street, etc.), if someone else’s negligence results in a personal injury, you will have a claim to seek compensation.
Question 3 – What Kind of Compensation Can I Recover?
With workers’ compensation claims, you can recover your lost wages and medical expenses in a lump sum settlement or paid out over time. You cannot sue your employer, though. The 1915 Pennsylvania Workers’ Compensation Act involved a tradeoff that guarunteed lost wage and medical expense reimbursement for Pennsylvania employees, but removed the employees’ right to file a lawsuit against the employer for further damages. You can seek compensation for your lost wages and medical expenses, but you cannot directly sue for a larger recovery.
With personal injury claims, you can seek compensation for your injury and losses, including pain and suffering, and even punitive damages (for willful negligence/wrongdoing).
Contact an experience Philadelphia workers’ compensation attorney today.