An accident can happen to anyone. Unfortunately, it can even happen when you’re at work, resulting in an injury you sustain while on the job. Of course, when you are injured while you’re working, you have options available to you if it’s serious enough that you will require medical treatment or time off from work. Most businesses have workers’ compensation insurance available just for this very reason. There is also the option of filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. However, it can be difficult to understand the difference between these options and knowing which is the more appropriate one to choose for your situation.
Overview of Workers’ Compensation
In most instances, if a person is injured on the job, they will file for workers’ compensation. However, there may be times when it might be more suitable to file a personal injury lawsuit instead. Workers’ compensation is in place as a way to protect both the employer and workers and exists as a way to prevent workers from suing the employer.
Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy many businesses acquire. It is administered by the state, but there is also federal workers’ compensation insurance for employees who work for the federal government. Under the law, if a worker is injured while on the job, they can receive benefits without proving fault. The only requirement for an employee who is injured on the job is that their injury was sustained while they were at work and performing duties related to their job. For example, if an employee works at an office and uses a computer with a workstation that is not ergonomic for many years and is diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, it would be a situation in which they are due workers’ compensation benefits.
Under the law, an injured worker can receive non-taxable workers’ compensation benefits that are equivalent to around two-thirds of their average salary on a weekly or biweekly basis. In addition, the individual can also receive medical care for the injury, compensation for a permanent injury and reimbursement if they require any additional job training or retraining.
In addition to benefits for injured workers, workers’ compensation benefits can also be provided to survivors of workers who are killed while on the job.
Overview of Personal Injury Lawsuits
Personal injury lawsuits are not limited to any specific group of people. Generally, anyone who is injured due to someone else’s negligence can sue them by bringing forth a personal injury lawsuit. However, to be successful in such a claim, the plaintiff must prove that the other person was at fault or negligent and that their actions caused their injury. Additionally, the individual must prove the extent of damages stemming from the injury and seek compensation from the defendant as a way to make them “whole” again.
Personal injury settlements are compensatory in nature, which means they include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earnings and even property damage. In addition, an individual may also be able to sue for pain and suffering due to their injury.
When Would You Choose Workers’ Compensation?
If your injury was sustained on the job, whether you were on the business’ premises or off, you could collect workers’ compensation benefits. As long as the injury came about as a direct result of your job, you would be eligible for it. The injury would have to be catastrophic in nature that prevents you from working for months, years of permanently and not something minor like a small cut or minor burn.
When Would You Choose to File a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit would be the more appropriate course of action if the injured worker’s employer denied their claim for workers’ compensation. It’s important to keep in mind that fault plays a huge role in determining liability. It’s always wise to opt for workers’ comp first before considering a personal injury suit. Workers’ compensation benefits are usually given in a more timely manner, whereas a personal injury case can take much longer to commence even though the compensation is generally higher.
It’s important to be wise when deciding whether to make a claim for workers’ compensation or file a personal injury suit when you suffer a work-related injury. Know all the facts about either option so that you can choose the one more appropriate for your situation.