Can a Workers Comp case also be a Personal Injury case?

What is the difference between filing personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim? If you get injured while working, then you would of course file a worker’s compensation claim.  But if your injury was caused by someone who did not work for your company, you will also have a liability claim against that person and/or his company.

Therefore, a workers’ compensation case can also be a personal injury case.  A personal injury claim is based on someone else’s fault, and a workers’ compensation case is not. To recover damages against an individual for a car accident or any type of negligence claim, the other individual must have done something wrong to cause your injury, such as driving recklessly or leaving something on the ground which causes you to fall.

Fault is Required in a Personal Injury Case

A slip and fall accident is a good example of how fault comes in to play in a personal injury case. Just because you slipped and fell on somebody else’s property does not necessarily mean that the owner of the property was negligent.  Sometimes accidents are just accidents, like if you trip and fall over a random stone in your neighbor’s yard.  Your neighbor has no duty to police his lawn of every tiny hazard so you don’t slip.

To recover damages for slipping on somebody else’s property, you must prove that the owner neglected his or her property and that their negligence caused you to fall. Likewise, if you are involved in a car accident, you can only recover damages from the other driver if he or she was at fault.

No Fault is Required in a Workers’ Compensation Case

In a workers’ compensation case, any injured employee is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits, with a few exceptions. Fault is irrelevant in workers’ compensation.  If you are injured on the job, you do not have to prove that your employer or co-workers did anything wrong to get workers’ compensation benefits.  Even if you were careless, and your carelessness caused your injury, you will still get workers’ compensation benefits, so long as your actions did not fall outside the normal course and scope of your employment.

Pain and Suffering

Unfortunately, in a workers’ compensation case, an injured worker cannot get benefits for pain and suffering. This is because the workers’ compensation system is a tradeoff between business owners and labor.

Before state governments created workers’ compensation laws, suing employers for negligence was the only remedy for injured workers.  In order to receive compensation for injuries, injured workers had to prove fault on the part of their employer.  In order to provide a means for injured workers to obtain medical care and disability benefits for all work accidents, states designed workers’ comp laws to cover all work accidents, regardless of fault.  The trade-off for this no-fault system is that injured workers cannot receive benefits for pain and suffering, only medical care and disability while they are off work.

Difference in Damages

The main difference in damages between a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation case is that in a workers’ compensation case you are only entitled to medical care and disability while you are off work. In a personal injury claim, you are eligible for all of the damages that you have suffered. This can include:

  • Loss of the ability to earn money in the future
  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Projected future medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent impairment or disability

With the experience of the Law Office of Christopher J. Annis, LLC in both workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases, you can be sure that we will fight to get you the benefits you rightfully deserve. Call us at (352) 264-1910 today for a free consultation.


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