When a person is injured on the job, that person can either file a worker’s compensation claim or file a personal injury lawsuit against the employer. In most cases, a worker’s compensation claim means the employee is not able to bring a lawsuit against the employer for lost earnings or additional compensation. However, it is best to obtain legal advice and understand the laws within specific states before deciding whether to pursue either option. There are distinct differences between worker’s compensation claims and personal injury suits.
Worker’s Compensation Claims
A worker’s compensation claim typically covers an employee’s injuries that occur while on the job when neither the employee or employer is at fault. For instance, if someone is working and accidentally burns his or her foot performing normal tasks, neither the employee or employer may be at fault. By filing a worker’s compensation claim, the employee usually has to seek medical treatment at a medical facility designated by the employer. Under the claim, the cost of the employee’s medical treatment and any lost wages due to an inability to return to work are typically covered. However, an employee could choose to pursue a personal injury claim through a personal injury lawyer like Mike Pines.
Personal Injury Claims
If an employee decides to file a personal injury claim against an employer, it is usually because the employee either believes the employer committed negligence that led to the accident or enough evidence exists to prove the employer was at fault. A personal injury claim also permits an employee to seek compensation for lost wages, initial medical costs, and pain and suffering. Injuries that result in long-term disability or physical and emotional pain and suffering beyond immediate medical treatment may be more likely to lead to personal injury claims. Yet, the burden of proof is usually on the employee and the employee’s legal team. There is a risk that the claim will be disproven in court or arbitration.
Making the Decision
Pursuing a personal injury claim against an employer can also entail permanently severing the employer-employee relationship. Employers that do not carry worker’s compensation insurance or enough worker’s compensation insurance are at a higher risk of being sued. Also, employers that either hurt or injure employees with intent are vulnerable. Keep in mind that not all injuries that are sustained on the job are immediate. Some injuries can emerge as long-term issues that can be traced back to a hazardous work environment. Before making the decision to pursue a personal injury claim, it is recommended that the employee have documentation and check the state and local laws surrounding both worker’s compensation claims and the statute of limitations on personal injury claims.
Pursuing compensation for lost earnings due to injuries sustained on the job can usually be accomplished through either a worker’s compensation or personal injury claim. Many choose to file a worker’s compensation claim when neither the employer or employee is likely to be found at fault for the injuries. Filing a worker’s compensation claim has several advantages, as the employer-employee relationship can usually be kept on good terms and the employee receives periodic compensation for medical expenses and lost wages per state law. However, if an employee can prove negligence or willful intent on the part of the employer, or if significant losses stemming from the injury, filing a personal injury claim may be the optimal route.