Man with a work injury in a warehouse.

Do You Have a Claim for Personal Injury or Workers’ Compensation?

When someone has been injured it can have a large cost on many aspects of their life. From lost wages to medical bills, it can become difficult to make ends meet. This is the purpose of both personal injury claims and workers’ compensation: to compensate someone for their injuries. However, there is a big difference between both methods of compensation. While a personal injury case centers on the negligence or recklessness of the defendant, workers’ compensation ignores fault but instead looks at whether the injury occurred while on the job. 

Personal Injury Claims Require Fault

In order for someone to recover under a personal injury claim, fault is required; it is not enough to be injured. For instance, if you are texting and fail to pay attention to where you are walking, only to step out in front of a car wherein the driver has done nothing wrong, you will likely be injured, but cannot recover damages because you will not be able to prove fault. In fact, the fault was your own. 

Workers’ Compensation Claims Require the Injury Happened on the Job

With a couple of exceptions, if someone is injured during their normal course of business, they are likely entitled to workers’ compensation benefits even if the accident was their fault. For you to receive workers’ compensation you do not need to prove that your employer was negligent; just that the injury occurred while you were acting within your job capacity. 

Recovery of Damages

One of the other large differences between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims is the recovery of damages. Individuals who receive workers’ compensation are not entitled to recover for pain and suffering, whereas the opposite is true for personal injury damages. In a personal injury suit, the plaintiff may recover for any type of damages suffered such as medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, permanent injury, and loss of enjoyment of life. 

In Pennsylvania, an injured worker’s recovery is generally entitled to wage loss benefits and payment of medical bills.  Also, when it comes to workers’ compensation claims, an employee (but for a few exceptions) does not have the ability to sue his or her co-workers or employer.

 One can generally only file either a personal injury claim or a workers’ compensation claim. However, there are circumstances in which an injured worker can claim both. Generally, a third-party claim can be made against the negligent party so long as that party is not the employer.  The most common scenarios include a work-related motor vehicle accident.  In those types of cases a claim can be made against the negligent party who caused the accident.  The other common third party claim scenario occurs when a defective product causes an injury to a worker.  The worker may have both a workers’ compensation claim as well as a claim against the manufacturer of the defective equipment. 

The Pennsylvania Workers’ Comp Attorneys Can Help

The differences between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims can often be quite confusing. Luckily, our workers’ comp attorneys can help. We understand the impact that an injury can have on all aspects of your life and the importance of being compensated for your past, present, and future damages. That’s why we’re here to help you. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation, contact us today!