Accidents happen in the workplace. There are many kinds of injuries that result from those accidents and personal injury is just one of them. While your company might offer a worker’s compensation claim, this isn’t the same as a personal injury case. As such, you should know the difference between the two so that when you experience personal injury yourself, you know what to do and what you can demand a compensation.
Personal Injury vs. Worker’s Compensation
A personal injury claim or case refers to a legal complaint brought to the court because the plaintiff (the victim or person filing the case) claims that the defendant (person or company at fault) was negligent in doing their job which resulted to an injury experienced by the plaintiff. In other words, a personal injury claims that someone is at fault and that person at fault should be the one paying the damages.
On the other hand, a workers’ compensation is like an insurance wherein employees are paid their wages and other benefits whenever they experience personal injury. This arrangement is one way for the company to avoid getting sued in court. Take, for example, a scenario where someone slips in the office and breaks an ankle. If they are covered by worker’s compensation claims, then the company will automatically pay for your officemate’s medical bills and wages for the days that he will be absent from work. Because he has been compensated, his right to sue no longer applies because the company already paid for the damages done. If there is no workers’ compensation, then your officemate will be free to sue the company or anyone who has been negligent in maintaining the floors that caused him to slip.
Notice the difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation. There are two striking factors that make them very different from each other.
The first one is the person at fault. When you file a personal injury case, there will always be someone at fault. A personal injury case will not hold if there was no one negligent. For workers’ compensation, even if someone was negligent, suing them won’t be possible anymore.
The second difference is in the damages to be paid. For workers’ compensation, the only things that will be paid are the medical bills, the permanent impairment benefits, rehabilitation expenses, and wages lost. The damages for pain and suffering is not accounted for while it is included when you file a personal injury suit.
How To Know If You Need An Attorney
Now that you know the difference between the two, you can now determine if you need a personal injury attorney if ever your case is caused by someone negligent. There are several factors you should look at.
- If you know that there is someone negligent
When you are sure that there is someone or something to blame (like a defective product), you can seek an attorney to help you make your case. While doing this alone is possible, you would need the legal expertise and a lot of time just to make your case be heard and to reap the benefits of a higher compensation.
What’s important is that you know someone is at fault. In this way, you can always seek legal advice and help from a trusted personal injury attorney so that they can make a solid case against your employer. Also, hiring an attorney would help you dig into more evidence and information regarding your case. This is especially helpful when your injury was not a slip-and-fall injury.
- If you know that you can get a higher compensation
This goes without saying because compared to workers’ compensation, you will definitely receive more if you bring your case to court. Depending on your lawyer, personal injury cases can be won with high settlements because there are companies who wish to put legal matters to rest quietly and without the press knowing about it. At the same time, if you win the case, your pain and suffering will also be paid for.
- When you are either a crewmember of a boat or an interstate railroad worker
This is a special scenario because crewmembers of boats and vessels and railroad workers are not covered by the workers’ compensation laws. This means that if you are one of these, you can easily go after your employer and file a suit.
In any case, once you know that you have enough reason to suspect that someone has become negligent, you can immediately contact a personal injury lawyer. However, you should be critical of who you hire as your lawyer because he or she can make or break your case. Personal injury cases are common and most of them are easily won. But it would be best if you have a lawyer who will put your best interests first. It’s not just about getting compensation, it’s also about getting the highest offer the defendant can give.