Workers' Compensation vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits

Have you suffered an injury on the job or while performing your work duties? If so, you may be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim to pay your medical bills and obtain financial compensation due to lost wages from missing work to recover from the injury. However, it is possible to file a personal injury claim as well.

The Differences between Workers’ Comp Claims & Personal Injury Lawsuits

The main difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury is proving fault. When you are injured at work or off-site while conducting work-related tasks and decide to apply for workers’ comp, you do not have to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other party caused the injury.

Rather, you are entitled to receive workers’ comp benefits—even when you are somewhat to blame for your injury. You may recover damages such as medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairment benefits, and vocational retraining.

On the other hand, fault or negligence must be proven in personal injury cases. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, simply because you got hurt does not mean that the person who owns the property was negligent. In order to recover damages for slipping and falling on someone else’ property, you must prove that the property owner negligently maintained the premises.

Also, personal injury claims are not limited to any specific set of people (i.e. workers). Anyone who suffers an injury due to the negligent actions of another is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Unlike workers’ comp benefits, personal injury damages are compensatory, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and damages for pain and suffering. Workers’ comp does not allow for non-economic damages.

However, there are some instances when a personal injury lawsuit applies to a work injury.

An individual injured at work may be able to file a personal injury claim due to the following circumstances:

  • The employer fails to carry workers’ comp insurance
  • The employer’s conduct was intentional or egregious
  • The injury was caused by the negligent actions of a third party
  • The injury involved a defective product, which makes it possible to file a claim against the product manufacturer
  • The injury involves a toxic or illegal substance

If you are interested in filing a workers’ comp claim, personal injury lawsuit, or both in Georgia, contact our Cobb County workers’ comp attorneys at Chestnut & Beller for more information today.