Stephen Hasner | Workers' Compensation | December 26, 2021
There are many types of accidents that can qualify for a personal injury case.
The following are a few common examples:
- Car accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Accidents resulting from defective products
- Dog bites
- Slip and falls
If you’re injured in such an accident, you can typically seek compensation by filing a personal injury claim with the at-fault party’s insurer. If their insurer won’t offer a fair settlement, you can pursue damages in court by filing a lawsuit.
However, the manner in which you go about seeking compensation can vary depending on where your accident occurred. For example, perhaps you were injured at work. In this case, you would likely file a workers’ compensation claim instead of a personal injury lawsuit.
Workers’ compensation claims are not exactly the same as personal injury claims. This guide will help you understand the difference between the two.
What is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Under Georgia law, most employers are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance. When an employee is injured on the job, they can file a claim with their employer’s workers’ compensation insurer to cover medical bills and lost wages.
Workers’ compensation in Georgia covers the following:
- Doctor bills
- Hospital bills
- Physical therapy
- Necessary travel expenses
In some instances, workers’ compensation will also cover the cost of medical and/or vocational rehabilitation. Additionally, if a worker is killed on the job, their immediate family members may file a workers’ compensation claim.
Injured employees cannot typically file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer after a workplace injury. Why? Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. It guarantees certain benefits to injured workers, regardless of who caused their injury. In exchange, injured employees give up the right to sue their employer.
What Makes a Personal Injury Case Different?
You need to be aware of certain key differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims.
There are certain losses that workers’ compensation does not cover. For example, if you file a personal injury claim, you may be able to recover compensation for your “pain and suffering” related to an accident.
Personal injury claims typically revolve around negligence. In other words, a plaintiff must prove someone else caused their accident/injury through negligence to recover compensation. As mentioned above, workers’ compensation does not require such a showing. An injured employee only have to show that they were injured on the job and incurred medical expenses and lost wages to have a successful claim.
What About Third-Parties?
It can be difficult to determine whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim. You can file a personal injury lawsuit after some work-related accidents. However, they must involve a third party.
If a third party (not your employer) caused your accident, you would be eligible to file a personal injury claim. Third parties may include manufacturers of defective products, negligent drivers, and more. A personal injury claim against a third party will allow you to recover greater damages than in a workers’ compensation claim.
Confusion over which type of claim you should file is one of many reasons you should review your case with an attorney shortly. They can analyze the details and determine whether you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim.