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Differences Between Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury

Posted on in Workers' Compensation

Differences Between Workers' Compensation and Personal InjuryThe similarities between workers’ compensation and personal injury cases can make them at times difficult to distinguish. Both involve people being injured and needing monetary compensation in order to pay for recovery. In the simplest terms, workers’ compensation is a personal injury that occurs as a result of someone’s work. Workers’ compensation laws were created to help injured workers without having to sue their employers or coworkers. By accepting workers’ compensation benefits, an employee waives his or her right to sue an employer. However, there are more differences between workers' compensation and personal injury cases than the circumstances of the injury. In some cases, an employee injured at work may have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Need for Fault

In personal injury lawsuits, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was at fault for his or her injury. Workers’ compensation claims require the claimant to prove that his or her injury arose from work. In most cases, it is easier to prove the latter than the former. The source of an injury is more based on facts than determining who was a fault for the injury. By allowing a workers’ compensation claim, the employer is not admitting negligence and is covered by its insurance.

Benefits Received

Workers’ compensation cases put less burden of proof on the claimant than a personal injury case, but the monetary award is also less. Workers’ compensation laws can limit how much money a claimant will receive, while plaintiffs in personal injury lawsuits can set what they believe is appropriate compensation. Workers’ compensation does not include money for pain and suffering or loss of quality of life.

Personal Injury at Work

In certain cases, another party may be legally at fault for a workplace injury. The injured worker may sue the liable party for personal injury damages. Examples include when:

  • An employer or coworker intentionally injured the plaintiff;
  • An employer or coworker was knowingly negligent about conditions that caused the injury;
  • A third party on site caused the injury;
  • A third party manufacturer provided defective or toxic materials for the workplace; or
  • The employer did not carry workers’ compensation as required by law.

As mentioned previously, a worker may receive greater compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. 

Receiving Compensation

You should consult with an attorney before deciding whether your workplace injury is a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit. A McHenry County workers’ compensation attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can determine whether negligence was involved in your injury. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2430&ChapterID=68

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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