After an accident at work, it is crucial to understand what options are available to you. Claiming workers’ compensation insurance and filing a personal injury claim are two of the most common avenues for obtaining financial compensation for the damages incurred. But can you do both? Let’s explore this question further.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Workers’ compensation insurance is often referred to as “workers’ comp.” It is a type of insurance that covers medical expenses and lost wages when an employee is injured on the job.
In most cases, workers’ comp benefits are paid regardless of who was at fault and can be used to cover medical bills, lost wages, rehabilitation costs, and disability payments. The benefits vary by state, so it’s essential to check with your employer or state workers’ compensation board for details.
By law, employers are required to obtain workers’ compensation insurance coverage for their employees; however, there are some exceptions based on the size of the business and/or industry.
This form of coverage is mandatory in most states, so it is vital to determine if your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance. If they do not have coverage, you may be able to seek financial assistance from your state’s Division of Workers’ Compensation.
When filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are essentially waiving your right to sue your employer for damages related to the accident. While this may seem a disadvantage, workers’ compensation provides certain benefits that cannot be obtained through a personal injury claim.
For example, most states require employers to pay for all medical bills related to an accident; however, this may not be true in every case. It is best to speak with an attorney before filing any claim so that you are aware of all potential benefits available under the law.
Personal Injury Claims
A personal injury claim is a legal action taken by an individual who has suffered physical or psychological harm due to the negligent or reckless act of another person or business entity.
These claims typically involve recovering monetary damages to compensate for any losses resulting from the accident or incident. These can include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and more. To make a successful personal injury claim, you must prove that the other party was negligent or acted unlawfully in some way.
Additionally, depending on the circumstances surrounding the case, punitive damages may also be awarded, as well as reimbursement for legal fees associated with filing a lawsuit against another party.
In most cases, personal injury claims require proof that the other party was negligent or maliciously intended to cause harm; this type of evidence may include witness statements, video footage, and medical records, etc.
This makes it more difficult and time-consuming than filing for workers’ compensation benefits since additional steps are involved in collecting evidence and proving liability. Hiring a personal injury lawyer is your best bet in this situation.
When Might You File a Personal Injury Claim Instead of Claiming Workers’ Compensation?
A person who has been injured at work may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit in the following situations:
- The injury was caused by a defective product, which would allow for a claim against the product manufacturer.
- The employer’s conduct was intentional or likely to cause serious harm or death.
- The injury was caused by exposure to a toxic or illegal substance.
- The employer failed to carry workers’ compensation insurance or was not required to carry it.
- The injury was caused by the negligence of a third party who does not work for the company.
Can You Do Both?
The short answer is yes; it is possible to claim workers’ compensation insurance and file a personal injury claim after an accident or incident involving negligence or wrongful acts. However, certain limitations on these claims can affect their success.
For instance, if the employer has workers’ comp coverage, they may not be liable for any additional damages related to the accident beyond what their policy covers. In that case, filing a personal injury claim would accomplish little since there would be no one else to seek damages from outside of the insurance company.
Additionally, if you were partially at fault for causing your injuries (for example, if you were not wearing proper safety equipment), this could also impact how much money you would receive from either your workers’ comp coverage or any potential settlement resulting from your personal injury claim.
Workers’ compensation insurance protects your employer from liability for a workplace injury or illness. This means that, in most cases, it doesn’t matter how you were injured at work — whether it was due to your coworker’s negligence or poor managerial direction — your ability to file a claim against your employer or coworkers is limited. However, you may still be able to file a personal injury claim if a third party was involved in your injury.
For example, if you sustain a hand injury while at work while using defective equipment, you would be able to file a workers’ compensation claim to recover your medical costs and a portion of your lost wages.
Then, you may be able to file a separate personal injury claim against the manufacturer of the product that caused your injury, allowing you to recover additional damages for pain and suffering and the long-term impact of your injury on your life.
How Do I Know Which Claim I Should Make?
If you have been injured on the job and are wondering if you’re eligible for both workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim, it’s wise to consult a personal injury lawyer in your state to determine what compensation you’re entitled to and your chances of winning a personal injury claim, as the burden is on you to prove the other party was responsible.
If you’re in Texas, for example, workers’ compensation insurance isn’t mandatory, and while most employers choose to have this type of insurance, if they don’t, you will be able to file a personal injury claim instead.
Workers’ compensation cases vary, but most cover a combination of 66% of your weekly wages, medical bills, and rehabilitation expenses. Depending on the severity of your injury, you may also be eligible for temporary or permanent disability income benefits, mileage reimbursement, and more.
As stated, however, workers’ compensation does not cover damages for pain and suffering or mental anguish. These damages are only available through a personal injury claim and compensate you for the psychological trauma and physical suffering that come with an injury.
If you want to claim for workers’ compensation and against a third party, it is best to consult an experienced attorney before making any decisions. They will advise you on whether filing either type of claim would be beneficial given your situation so that you can choose the path that provides maximum benefits while minimizing potential risks involved with litigation proceedings.