In case a person sustains a work-induced injury, he or she will register a workers compensation claim instead of suing the employer for negligence. But under exceptional circumstances, you may file an injury claim against the employer or the party accountable for your injuries. The difference between personal injury claim and workers comp claim, in this case, is on the issue of fault and damages.
Fault in Personal Injury Claim
One can only win a claim after an accident if they can prove the injuries occurred because of another person’s fault or negligence. If it is a slip and fall tragedy that caused your injuries, it doesn’t mean you can sue the owner of the property for negligence. Accidents can occur, and it doesn’t mean somebody is responsible. But if you feel someone is liable, your attorney must demonstrate that the owner of the property acted negligently or failed to do something right. The same case will apply if your injuries stemmed from a vehicle crash. You have to prove another person was at fault to receive reimbursement for your loss.
Personal injury claims are different from workers comp because you will not receive any damages until the court awards you damages in a trial or you settle with the attorney or insurer of the opposing party. But if you win the claim or arrive at a settlement, there is a possibility of receiving maximum damages for all the losses you have incurred because of the injuries.
No-Fault in Workers Comp Claims
On the issue of workers comp, any worker that sustains injuries or falls ill in the course of his or her job, the employer should provide compensation. Take note that in workers comp, no fault is required. An Orange County workers compensation attorney doesn’t have to demonstrate the employer or a colleague was at fault. You will receive compensation benefits if you can show the injuries are work-related.
Another good thing with workers comp is that you don’t have to wait until the case is concluded to receive compensation benefits. Employees are encouraged to report work-related injuries on time to make it easy to receive medical care and temporary disability benefits promptly. The disadvantage of workers comp benefits is that compensation benefits are limited. You cannot receive benefits beyond what is provided in the workers comp. The only compensation you get is for lost wages in the event a person is unable to work because of the injuries or when he or she earns less than the regular income.
Pain and Suffering Reimbursements
Another significant variance between personal injury claim and workers compensation is the issue of awarding indemnities for the pain. In an injury suit, you can pursue reimbursement for these damages and any other losses that you can prove you suffered because of the injuries stemming from the job. However, in a worker’s comp claim, there are no benefits awarded for the pain and suffering stemming from the injuries. You only get indemnification for wage loss, vocational rehabilitation, medical expenses, and permanent disability.
The reason there are no pain and suffering reimbursements in workers comp is that the idea of these claims are fundamentally an exchange of labor and the employer. Remember that before the enactment of workers comp by various states, employees injured at their workplace would register an injury lawsuit against the business owner for wrongful conduct. If an injured employee failed to prove negligence by the employer or didn’t sue at all, he or she got nothing.
Suing the Employer or Co-worker for Work-Induced Injuries
The enactment of workers comp laws ensured workers who sustain work-induced injuries receive benefits and have their health bills covered. But in exchange, injured employees cannot sue the business owner or colleagues for negligence. On top of that, employees lost their constitutional right to seek compensation for pain. However, this rule has an exception if a business owner’s internal act results in your injuries. In such an incident, you can sue the employer and recover damages for pain and anguish.
Someone other than the employer may be partially liable for an employee’s injuries. In such a case, you can receive workers comp from the employer and still sue the third party for personal injury. In case you are driving in the course of your job and are involved in an accident caused by another driver’s fault or sustain injuries because of operating faulty equipment at work, you can sue the third party for negligence.
Note that crewmembers and railroad workers are not eligible for workers comp. Instead, the Jones Act allows them to sue the employer in the event of job-related injuries.
Who Should You Hire an Attorney for Legal Assistance?
There is a time limit for filing a workers comp claim. For this reason, anytime you are injured at work, report the issue to the employer immediately, and contact an Orange County workers compensation attorney. The attorney will explain various laws that apply in your case and whether or not you are eligible for the exception to register a personal injury claim.