Many workers mistakenly assume that workers' compensation and personal injury claims are the same. While both types of claims help injured persons pursue financial benefits after an accident or injury, they are distinct in scope and nature. In some cases, injured workers can receive workers' compensation and personal injury damages if a negligent third party was involved.
Establishing fault for the injury
To file a personal injury suit, you must be able to demonstrate that your injury occurred due to another party's negligence or deliberate harm. In most cases, workers' compensation benefits are available regardless of fault. If you are injured at work, or from workplace-related actions, you may be eligible for workers' comp.
Determining the scope of benefits
Personal injury damages are determined based on the severity of your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. In contrast, workers' comp only covers medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages. Each year, New York sets a cap on the maximum amount that workers may collect. You can pursue workers' compensation benefits up to that amount.
Who pays damages?
In a personal injury suit, the at-fault individual, or their insurer, is responsible for paying damages. During a workers' compensation case, you are not suing your employer for damages. Workers' compensation acts as a type of insurance for companies. Their insurer directly pays out compensation claims.
Which type of claim should you pursue? Or are you eligible for both?
The circumstances surrounding your injury determine which type of claim you should pursue. If you are unsure whether to file a personal injury or workers' compensation claim, contact an experienced workers' compensation attorney for guidance. A lawyer can carefully evaluate your situation and provide more in-depth information about your case to ensure that you pursue maximum benefits.