At first glance, workers’ compensation and personal injury both seem the same. In reality, there are some important differences between them. This is only made harder to understand since a personal injury lawyer is also advertising his services as a workers comp lawyer. This is because the lawyer can handle both types of cases.
The biggest one is the fact that with the personal injury claim, the focus is put on fault. This is not the case with workers’ compensation.
If you want to recover damages caused by a slip and fall, car accident, or a personal injury claim, the party at fault has to be negligent. This means that the individual should have done something that was wrong.
Fault Is Required In Personal Injury Cases
Fault is a concept that always applies to personal injury claims. Understanding it is quite simple. Let’s say you slipped and fell on a property owned by someone else. The fact that this happened does not mean the owner is automatically considered at fault. You need to prove that the individual was negligent since accidents can happen without having anyone that is at fault.
To recover financial damages when you slip and fall on the property owned by someone else, you have to prove the negligence of the owner. Basically, you should show that something wrong actually happened. In a similar way, during car accidents, damages can only be recovered from the driver that was at fault for the collision.
No Fault Is Required In Workers’ Compensation Cases
With workers’ compensation, every single employee who was injured while on the job can receive benefits. There are not many limitations to this. Fault is never actually taken into account. You do not have to prove that co-workers or the employer did something wrong as you will just get the benefits.
All this does include you. Even when you are negligent and this is what caused the injury, compensation benefits are available.
Pain And Suffering
We already mentioned the big difference between the two and we can go further in saying that with workers’ compensation cases, you will not receive benefits to cover pain and suffering. With personal injury claims, you can receive absolutely all damages suffered. This does include lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, medical bills, lost earnings, and even loss of life enjoyment (known as hedonic damages), to mention just a few.
With workers’ compensation, you simply receive weekly compensation, money to cover medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, and permanent impairment benefits. Pain and suffering are simply not covered since worker comp is just a trade between business owners and labor forces. Before workers’ compensation existed, employees were forced to sue employers for negligence since this was the only way to get paid damages.