Workers’ compensation and personal injury claims both can provide compensation to those who become injured. However, there are differences between them that you should know that could affect your next steps.
Generally, those who are hurt on the job should file for workers’ compensation. This usually excludes you from filing a personal injury lawsuit, though there are certain situations that may permit you to do both.
Examining the Difference Between Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claims
In New York, workers’ compensation is provided for work-related injuries, illnesses, or deaths. As for personal injury claims, they apply to the injuries that workers’ compensation doesn’t cover or other circumstances that may make it possible to sue.
Workers’ compensation was put into place to compensate injured workers while preventing an influx of personal injury claims. This means that you are usually barred from suing your employer. There are a few exceptions though, such as if your employer injures you through intentional misconduct or causes you injury unrelated to work. Additionally, if your employer is not carrying workers’ compensation insurance as per the laws in the state, you can sue them.
What to Know About Suing Third Parties for Your Work-Related Injuries
Along with those differences, there are certain situations where you may be able to get workers’ compensation benefits and compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. In cases where a third party is involved, like a contractor, the subcontractor can sue the contractor. The owner of the construction site may be a separate party that you can sue too, especially if your injury was due to a dangerous condition on the property.
How to Prove Fault in Work Injury Situations
If you were hurt at work, you don’t need to prove any fault for obtaining workers’ compensation. Even if you injure yourself through your own carelessness, you can still get these benefits as it is a no-fault system.
In personal injury cases, you must prove the fault of the other party. New York’s pure comparative negligence model will apply in personal injury cases too, which may assign you a percentage of blame for your injuries. If any fault is assigned to you, your compensation would be reduced by that percentage.
Differences in Compensation Between Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury
If you file a workers’ compensation claim, you can get damages that provide for your medical expenses, lost wages, and if applicable, occupational disability. For personal injury claims, you can seek compensation for other economic and non-economic losses.
As for non-economic losses, you may be able to recover them for pain and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life, among many other things. It is important to discuss your injuries with an attorney to determine if you have a valid personal injury claim.
Even if you receive workers’ compensation, a third party could have caused you serious injuries that will affect the rest of your life. You should make sure you’re not the one stuck paying for them after someone else wronged you.