The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits
When an employee gets injured while performing their job duties, they may have the right to pursue compensation through different legal avenues. The two most common options are workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits.
While both types of claims may seem similar, they differ in several aspects, including the type of benefits available, fault requirements, and the scope of damages recoverable. It’s essential to understand the differences between the two to make informed decisions about your legal options.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
A personal injury lawsuit is a legal claim that an injured party, or plaintiff, files against a negligent party, also known as the defendant. In cases involving a work-related injury, the negligent party could be the employer, a coworker, or a third party, such as a vendor or contractor.
The purpose of a personal injury lawsuit is to recover compensation for any damages that the plaintiff suffered due to the defendant’s actions. These damages may include compensation for medical care, lost wages, and property damage.
To succeed in a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was at fault for the accident through an intentional act or a legal concept known as negligence. Negligence occurs when a defendant failed to uphold a certain standard of care, such as failure to follow safety standards or maintain a safe work environment.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that provides benefits to employees who suffer job-related injuries or illnesses. The program is designed to help injured workers recover from their injuries and return to work as soon as possible. In Connecticut, every employer with at least one eligible employee is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage.
Unlike personal injury claims, workers’ compensation benefits are available regardless of fault. In other words, an injured worker can receive benefits even if he or she was partly or wholly responsible for the accident.
Some of the benefits that workers’ compensation may provide include:
- Medical treatment
- Wage replacement
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Long-term disability benefits.
When Can You File a Lawsuit for a Work-Related Injury?
In most cases, an employee cannot file a lawsuit against his or her employer for a work-related injury if the employer has workers’ compensation insurance. However, there may be situations where an employee can file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to or instead of a workers’ compensation claim.
For example, if the injury was caused by a third party, the employee may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against that party. If the employer is required to carry workers’ compensation coverage but did not purchase it, the employee could file a lawsuit against the company instead.
Contact a Connecticut Workplace Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Case
If you or a loved one has suffered a work-related injury, it is important to seek legal advice from an attorney who can evaluate your case and determine the best course of action. A Connecticut workplace injury lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal system and maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation for your injuries.
Whether you’re considering a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury lawsuit, or both, an attorney can provide invaluable guidance and representation throughout the process. Schedule a free consultation after your accident to plan your next steps.