Personal Injury vs. Workers Compensation: Which to Choose When Filing a Claim

Posted March 8, 2023 by in Career

Living with an injury is never ideal, especially if that injury happened during some normal day-to-day task that you’re accustomed to doing. Depending on the severity of that injury, you may be left unable to work or go about your life as you were before. When this happens, you may become frustrated with the situation that caused the injury and may be interested in seeking out a way to be compensated.

Generally speaking, when bodily injury occurs and another party is a factor in the situation, people choose to file either a personal injury lawsuit or workers compensation claim. Learning which may be right for your situation could allow you to receive compensation for medical expenses or lost wages.  

What is Workers Compensation?

Workers compensation is a form of insurance that almost all businesses should have. This type of insurance is paid for by the employer, rather than the employees. In return for monthly or yearly payments, a business receives financial coverage for employees who are injured on the job and may not be able to return to work until a later date, or at all. 

Different Types of Workers Compensation

There are a number of different types of workers compensation that may be applicable to employees. Most notably:

  • Medical coverage that offers compensation for current and ongoing medical bills resulting from the accident
  • Temporary disability benefits which offer compensation for lost wages during the period of time the injured party could not work
  • Permanent disability benefits that offer long-term financial assistance if the injured party cannot return to work
  • Education financial coverage for if an injured employee needs to switch career tracks after being unable to return to their old role
  • Death benefits which provide financial assistance to the remaining family if a person dies as a result of their normal course of work

What is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

For those who have ever considered looking into filing an injury claim in the past, personal injury lawsuit stories have likely come across your eyes. A personal injury lawsuit occurs when one person is injured, and they sue another party who they believe is primarily responsible for the accident that caused their injury. 

A common example of a personal injury lawsuit could be one person speeding through a stop sign and slamming into another car who had the right of way. Personal injury lawsuits can often provide the injured party with more financial compensation than workers compensation, but the injured party needs to win the case, to some extent, in order to receive anything. 

The Difference Between Personal Injury Lawsuits and Workers Compensation

The primary difference between personal injury lawsuits and workers compensation is that the latter is an insurance claim. All an injured person needs to do is submit the claim and meet the qualifications for workers compensation and they will receive financial assistance. Additionally, to be eligible for workers compensation, the accident needs to occur while you are on the clock and performing the normal functions of your job, whereas personal injury lawsuits can happen anywhere. 

However, someone filing a personal injury lawsuit needs to prove to the court that the other party had a duty of care which they violated, directly resulting in the injuries the person sustained. In the majority of cases, a personal injury lawsuit will result in a settlement between the two parties. It’s worth noting that you cannot claim workers compensation and then turn around and file a personal injury lawsuit against that same party for the same reason. 

Personal Injury vs. Workers Compensation: Which is Right for Me? 

Deciding between filing a personal injury lawsuit and filing a worker’s compensation claim can be a big decision. It’s best to consider a number of variables when making this choice, including:

  • Was anyone else directly responsible for the accident that occurred?
  • How severe are the injuries you experienced from the accident? 
  • Is the workers compensation your company provides comprehensive or will you not receive much assistance?
  • Did the accident occur at the workplace or somewhere else? 

Stay protected legally after an accident

Whether your injury was acute or chronically developed, there’s no reason you should have to lose out on wages or blow through your savings to cover medical expenses if the injury wasn’t your fault. Reach out to an accredited personal injury attorney in your area to see whether a personal injury lawsuit or workers compensation claim is more applicable to your situation.