Personal injury laws govern situations where someone gets an injury due to someone else’s actions. In a personal injury case, a personal injury lawyer must first determine the liable party before filing a claim. Meanwhile, workers’ compensation attorneys don’t bother themselves with trying to find fault.
While personal injury remedies are open to everyone with a cause of action, workers’ compensation is only for specific employees. Personal injury cases include medical negligence, car accidents, premises liability, dog bites, etc. Meanwhile, the types of workers’ compensation include temporary and permanent disabilities.
However, it can be challenging to tell the difference between both causes of action. That’s because they usually both deal with someone sustaining injuries through an accident that was no fault of their own.
Telling the difference between either civil actions can help you make the right decisions concerning your case. It also allows you to manage your expectations concerning your compensation benefits. We’ll compare and contrast personal injury claims with workers’ compensation cases in this article.
How Does Workers’ Compensation Differ From a Personal Injury Claim?
The primary distinguishing factor between an injury claim and a workers’ compensation case is the need to prove fault. While personal injury runs on a fault-based system, you don’t need to prove anyone’s fault in a workers’ compensation claim. Under work comp rules, all you need to prove is that you sustained work-related injuries. It doesn’t even matter if your carelessness caused your injuries.
Meanwhile, in a personal injury case, you must prove the following elements:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty of care
Failure to prove any of the above elements can lead to a case dismissal under personal injury law.
Another significant difference between both legal actions is the types of damages you can claim. Personal injury claims award a more expansive compensation range, depending on what you can prove. For example, in a car accident claim, you can get economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. That includes compensation for injuries like pain and suffering, loss of consortium, mental anguish, etc.
Workers’ compensation has more limited possibilities when it comes to damages. Apart from specific weekly payments, work comp claimants can get compensation for vocational rehabilitation, medical bills, and permanent impairments benefits. However, they cannot claim certain benefits that personal injury claimants enjoy. For example, work comp claimants can’t get punitive damages, lost future earnings, or compensation for pain and suffering.
In summary, workers’ compensation trades personal injury claims with guaranteed benefits for injured employees. In return, workers waive their rights to file personal injury lawsuits or claim specific damages against their employers. In the end, workers’ compensation creates a win-win situation for both employers and their employees.
Do I Have to Choose Between a Personal Injury Lawsuit or Workers’ Comp?
Generally, employees have no choice but to pursue workers’ compensation claims when they sustain work-related injuries. However, some exceptions allow injured employers to file injury claims against their employers or a third party.
First, workers’ compensation doesn’t apply to every employee in Charlotte, North Carolina. The exempt workers include domestic employees, federal government employees, casual workers, railroad employees, etc. Those workers may have to file a personal injury lawsuit or find alternative means to compensate for their injuries.
Secondly, there are instances where you may have to choose between workers’ compensation or a third-party liability suit. These are situations where someone aside from your employer or co-workers was responsible for your work injuries. An example is when a negligent driver crashed into your car while you were carrying out deliveries for your company. In such cases, you may pursue a personal injury claim against the liable third party or pursue workers’ compensation.
Making such decisions can be challenging. You’ll likely get more compensation in a car accident claim than with workers’ compensation. However, workers’ compensation provides more guaranteed benefits than injury claims that aren’t sure. You’ll need help from an experienced legal practitioner to make the right decisions.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers at Waple and Houk Immediately
Should you file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury case in Charlotte? Sometimes, it can be hard to tell, especially if a third party caused your work-related injuries. That’s why you must always seek legal advice from an experienced personal injury lawyer in Charlotte, NC.
Our workers’ compensation attorneys at Waple and Houk can help you make the right decisions. We know precisely how to get you justice in the easiest and fastest ways possible. We consistently surpass our clients’ expectations. Contact us immediately to consult with our attorneys for free now.