It is not easy for some people to tell the differences between workers’ compensation cases and personal injury lawsuits.
The major difference between these two is that you need to prove fault in a personal injury lawsuit, but the same is not required in a worker’s compensation case. Workers’ compensation and personal injury cases may also be differentiated on the basis of which damages may be sought. Let us have a look into few of these differences.
Fault as Reason for Compensation
Fault is the main factor in personal injury lawsuits. For you to be able to sue, you have to prove that another party is responsible for your injury. An example of personal injury lawsuits is a case of slip and fall. If you sustained an injury as a result of slipping on another party’s property, you may not have enough reason to file for a personal injury lawsuit. You will need to prove that the slipping incident resulted from the negligence on the part of the other party. Essentially, you can only sue in this instance when someone is at fault for your injury.
On the other hand, workers’ compensation cases have nothing to do with fault for a claim to be filed. An employee is entitled to receive benefits if he or she becomes injured in the process of doing their work. It does not matter whether another worker’s negligence led to an injury or not. Employees also do not need to go to the extent of suing their employers to get the benefits.
Payment of Damages
It is possible for an affected party to recover all damages suffered in a personal injury lawsuit. The damages that could be recovered include compensation for present and future medical costs, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and permanent disability. Damages could also be recovered for pain and suffering, making personal injury lawsuits especially different from workers’ compensation cases in this regard.
Employees can seek benefits for medical expenses, partial, or permanent disability, and acquisition of new vocational skills in workers’ compensation cases. As previously mentioned, injured workers are generally not entitled to get benefits for pain and suffering. This is so because the idea of workers’ compensation is to help employees recover from injuries while also allowing employers peace of mind. Before the introduction of the system, the only options available to injured employees were to either sue employees for negligence or let the incident slide without any action.
Workers’ Compensation Eliminates Lawsuits against Employers
Laws in most states require employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. This helps to ensure that employees who get injured on the job are provided with regular financial benefits to enable them take care of their medical expenses and lost wages. However, this arrangement virtually eliminates the possibility of injured employees being able to file lawsuits against their employers or fellow workers for act of negligence that was responsible for injuries sustained.
For further information on the subject or your case in particular, you should get in touch with an experienced Kansas City, Missouri workers compensation lawyer at the Law Office of James M. Hoffmann.
Call (816) 399-3706 for a free case evaluation.
photo credit: Injury Lawyers San Luis Obispo via Flickr