When a person is injured in an accident caused by another party or parties, state law gives the victim the right to pursue financial compensation for the losses their injuries have caused them. This is done through a personal injury claim.
When a worker sustains a job-related injury or illness, the law provides the protection of workers’ compensation insurance most employers must carry. These benefits ensure that the injured worker can obtain the medical treatment they need and also receive their wages while they recover, even if they are unable to work.
Although both of these actions may sound similar, there are legally several key differences. Knowing the difference will help a victim determine which legal option to pursue. Workers’ compensation lawyers are able to evaluate injured workers’ cases and help obtain whatever claim is best for their situation.
The most critical difference between a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim is the issue of fault. In a personal injury claim, the victim must prove that the other party’s negligence or reckless behavior caused the incident which resulted in the victim getting injured.
In a workers’ compensation claim, the injured worker is not required to prove negligence or recklessness in order to be successful in the claim. Workers’ compensation insurance is classified as a no-fault system. Even if the worker themselves caused the accident that result in their injury, they may still be able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits. There are some exceptions, such as if the injury was inflicted intentionally or if the worker was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
There is also a difference in the types of compensation an injured victim can pursue in their claim between the two. In a personal injury claim, the victim can claim the following losses:
- Past, present, and future medical expenses
- Past, present, and future loss of income and benefits
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Permanent disability
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Wrongful death
In a workers’ compensation claim, an injured worker does not receive compensation for their pain and suffering or emotional anguish. The following are some of the benefits they may be able to receive:
- All medical expenses associated with injury.
- The difference in the pre-injury wages the worker earned and the post-injury wages if the worker is not able to perform the job he or she had prior to the injury.
- Partial permanent disability benefits if the worker’s injury causes a partial permanent disability because of the loss of use of one body part.
- Permanent total disability benefits if the worker’s injury causes a permanent disability that leaves the worker unable to work or the permanent loss of two of the same body parts.
- Vocational benefits if the worker is unable to go back to the job they had before the injury, they may be entitled to vocational counseling and training for another profession.
If the worker dies from their injury, their family may be entitled to survivor’s benefits.
Call a Personal Injury Firm for Help
Under state law, work injuries are almost always covered under the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer does not want to pay out your compensation benefits, or you have difficulty obtaining those benefits, you should immediately contact an experienced attorney, like one of the NY workers compensation lawyers from a firm like Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C.