workplace injury attorney

4 Differences Between Personal Injury And Workers Compensation

Mishaps can occur at any time and no matter how careful people are, many of them may have to suffer physical harm due to an accident. In some cases, an incident happens because of the negligence of another entity. Then there are instances when an entity is responsible for the well-being of the people in its employment. There are legal remedies that allow the sufferer to get financial compensation for the damages. However, many people are confused between personal injury and workers’ compensation and do not know, how they can be applied to a case. There are many individuals who incorrectly think that both remedies are the same. There are some clear differences between both types of claims. Here we are pointing out the differences between the two areas. This will help people in knowing when they should hire a workplace injury attorney and when they should approach a personal injury lawyer.

1. Determination Of Fault

The biggest difference between both kinds of claims is in the requirement of determination of fault. In a case involving personal injury, it is essential to establish that the harm occurred due to the irresponsible action or inaction of another party. Let’s say you are at an industrial unit where you slip and fall. Now, if you slipped where the floor was dry and was not overly smooth, then you cannot accuse the unit owner of negligence. However, if you slipped because there was oil leaking from a piece of machinery that was not properly maintained, then the business owner was definitely at fault. This means that you can file a claim for personal injury only if an entity had not discharged its duties in a responsible manner.

On the other hand, in a worker’s compensation case, there is no need to establish that an entity was at fault. As soon as an injury happens to a worker, he/ she becomes entitled to specific compensation. There is no need for the employee to prove that the employer was at fault. The staff member will receive damages even if the employing entity had not made any mistakes.

2. Damages For Suffering

A successful personal injury claim entitles an individual to receive compensation for all the pain and suffering he/ she had to undergo. People can receive monetary compensation for lost income or lost ability to earn an income. In case, they have to receive medical treatment or have to go through a medical procedure because of the accident, they will be compensated for all the expenses. People can file a claim for hedonic damages if they suffer from a loss that prevents them from enjoying certain pleasures of life.

 In a worker’s compensation, an individual cannot file a claim to receive benefits for pain and suffering. This is another significant difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation. The affected person will receive compensation for settling expenses related to medical treatment. They can also receive support for permanent impairment and vocational rehabilitation. The amount is usually released at fixed intervals of time. In some states, a lump sum is handed over to the injured worker. 

3. Right To Sue

People injured in an accident that is under the control of another entity can sue it in the event of negligent behavior. They will have to prove that the irresponsible nature of the entity resulted in physical harm to them. However, in a majority of the cases, a person cannot sue his/ her employer if he/ she has already filed for workers’ compensation. In fact, the entire premise of this type of compensation is based on a trade-off between both parties. When staff members agree to receive compensation for the damages suffered at the workplace, they forego their right to sue the employing entity. For instance,  when a worker got injured at a construction site in Minnesota he applied for workers’ compensation. However, at a later stage, he felt that he should sue his supervisor and the site owner. When he approached the Local 405 laborers union office, he was told that since he was receiving compensation according to the specified law, he cannot drag the two entities to court.

4. Process Of Filing The Claim

The procedure to file for claim is also different in both cases. As soon as an individual suffers an injury at the workplace, he/ she has to inform the employer. Both sides have to fill forms and submit them. The insurance company then assesses the claim to make a decision. It will be wise to contact your union to know about the exact process in your jurisdiction. For example, a construction worker in St. Paul, MN can contact the laborers local 563 to learn the procedure.

A personal injury claim has to be filed in a court of law. The errant party will be served with a lawsuit by the sufferer. The case may go to trial or be settled out of court.


Personal injury and workers’ compensation are two distinct claims and people must know the various differences between them. This will help them in knowing how they can invoke the right law in case they get injured in an accident.

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