Workers Compensation vs. Personal Injury: Which is Right for You?

Personal Injury Lawyer Construction Accident
  • Author: Fazal Umer
  • Posted On: September 26, 2023
  • Updated On: September 26, 2023

Going about your day job only to experience some type of debilitating injury is a frustrating experience that can leave you wondering what to do next.

Depending on the severity of your injury, it’s possible you may not even be able to work in the same role that you have been in before. Rectifying this situation when it wasn’t your fault can be done via workers compensation insurance or personal injury and learning which is best can help you deal with your injuries properly. 

What is Workers Compensation?

For those unfamiliar with the term, workers compensation is a form of mandatory insurance that all businesses in the United States who employ people need to have.

It covers the organization financially in the event that a worker is injured during the normal course of the duties of their job. Workers compensation insurance will generally pay for the ongoing medical and additional costs related to a person’s injuries, so long as what occurred falls under the realm of workers compensation.

Common Types of Workers Compensation

There are six primary types of workers compensation that an organization will have, though the extent of injuries they cover can vary from plan-to-plan. With that said, the following are those types:

  • Medical Care: This aspect of workers compensation covers medical related costs that an employee may have when treating their injuries that resulted from the incident. 
  • First Aid Treatment: The first aid treatment aspect of workers compensation falls under the same umbrella as medical care, though it is more related to visiting doctors for diagnosis and other smaller costs. 
  • Temporary Disability: Should a person be qualified as temporarily disabled due to their injuries, their workplace will need to pay them benefits for the period of time they cannot work. 
  • Permanent Disability: Should a person be permanently disabled by the injuries they have suffered, he workplace will need to pay benefits in perpetuity depending on the situation. 
  • Supplemental Job Displacement: If a person’s injuries prevent them from returning to the same role that they had before and now they need to train for a new job, this type of insurance will pay for the costs associated with that switch
  • Death Benefits: In the event that someone actually dies as a result of the injuries they suffered, this type of benefit will pay for costs related to funeral expenses and for dependents. 

What is Personal Injury

On the other side of things, a personal injury lawsuit occurs when one party sues another party for causing the incident via negligence which injured them. The goal of a personal injury lawsuit is to receive compensation for the injuries suffered. The key difference between the two is that, for example, if a worker falls from scaffolding that wasn’t properly secured, it would only fall under personal injury if another party failed to secure it properly. 

The Role of Negligence in Personal Injury

As mentioned, negligence is a key component of a personal injury lawsuit, but proving it existed is far easier said than done. To do this, the following three elements will need to be shown: 

  1. Duty of Care: First and foremost, it must be shown that one party had a duty of care to the other party, meaning they were responsible for acting in a manner which wouldn’t result in danger. 
  2. Breach of Duty of Care: Second, it must be shown that the party breached their aforementioned duty of care by acting with a general disregard for the others around them. 
  3. Proximate Causation: Third, it must be shown that the breach of duty directly led to the incident which caused the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. 

Is Workers Compensation or Personal Injury Right for You? 

Determining whether workers compensation or personal injury is right can be difficult but be aware that if you choose to accept workers compensation then you cannot file personal injury for the same injuries. To determine which is right, look at what occurred and see if someone was directly responsible for the incident or if there was such gross negligence that it qualifies for a larger payout than workers compensation would provide.

The Bottom Line

Repairing your life after it has been upended due to a workplace injury can be both complicated and difficult. However, with either workers compensation or a personal injury case you have a shot at fixing whatever occurred. Speak with both the workers compensation division of your organization along with a personal injury attorney to determine which course of action is best for your situation.

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Author: Fazal Umer

Fazal is a dedicated industry expert in the field of civil engineering. As an Editor at ConstructionHow, he leverages his experience as a civil engineer to enrich the readers looking to learn a thing or two in detail in the respective field. Over the years he has provided written verdicts to publications and exhibited a deep-seated value in providing informative pieces on infrastructure, construction, and design.