What You Need to Know About Personal Injury Cases and Workers’ Compensation Claims
One of the more frequent questions our clients ask us is how personal injury cases and workers’ compensation claims differ.
It’s important that you understand the difference between the two types of cases so that if you require legal counsel, you can move forward with confidence.
What You Need to Know
The Workers’ Compensation Act was established to help you if you have been injured on the job. To receive workers’ compensation, an employee does not need to show that the employer is at fault. Rather, the person filing the claim needs to have been an employee at the time of the injury, and the injury needs to have arisen out of and in the course of your employment.
On the other hand, a personal injury lawsuit arises when someone has suffered an injury at the hands of someone else. With personal injury cases, you do need to prove that someone else was at fault. Personal injury claims include injuries stemming from car accidents, slips and falls, dog bites, assaults and battery, medical malpractice, as well as other accidents.
Finally, in some limited circumstances, an individual may be eligible for both a personal injury action and a workers’ compensation claim arising out of the same occurrence but against different parties.
One common misconception is that workers’ compensation claims do not require the services of an attorney. After all, workers’ compensation laws protect those individuals who sustain work-related injuries. These laws require an employer to pay compensation to an injured employee. But the reality can be far more complicated.
Unfortunately, employers and insurance companies can fight to deny a claim or reduce the compensation. For example, if you are unfortunate enough to suffer a heart attack at work, an employer and insurance company might try to deny you workers’ compensation on the grounds that your heart attack was a pre-existing condition – when in fact conditions in the workplace might have contributed to the heart attack.
What You Can Recover
Employees injured on the job are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Injured workers usually can receive the following benefits:
100% of their medical bills paid: As long as your treatment is reasonable and necessary, your employer must pay all of your medical expenses relating your work injury.
Two-thirds of your average weekly wage: This is also known as temporary total disability or TTD benefits. You receive 2/3 of your average weekly wage over the last 52 weeks. In some situations, overtime hours may be included in calculating your average weekly wage. You are entitled to receive TTD benefits until you are back to work at your old job or can work with restrictions.
A settlement for the permanent nature of your injuries: This is known as permanent partial disability benefits or PPD. These benefits are awarded to an injured worker who has suffered some type of impairment or disfigurement but is able to work in some capacity. The amount you receive for this depends on your injury and your wage.
The potential damages available in personal injury cases are much more extensive. Unlike workers’ compensation, however, someone with a personal injury claim receives no benefits while they recover. Instead, compensation for damages is secured in a lump sum once the full nature and extent on the damages is determined. Damages are monetary compensation to remedy the physical, psychological and financial distress the injured suffered as a result of their personal injury. Similar to a workers’ compensation claim, a personal injury victim is entitled to medical expenses. Furthermore, damages may also include loss of income, out-of-pocket costs, pain and suffering, and in some instances, punitive damages.
What You Should Do
With either a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury case, it is important that you act quickly and consult the services of an attorney before you speak to anyone else, such as an insurance adjuster.
If you have a question about a possible personal injury or workers’ compensation claim, call Capron & Avgerinos now at (800) 535-4542. We are ready to assist you over the phone or in person. We perform our cases on a contingent fee basis, which means we are not paid unless you recover compensation for your claim.
Call Capron & Avgerinos at (800) 535-4542 – let us show how we can deliver results for you.