When injured at work, employees have the right and opportunity to file a worker’s compensation claim in order to cover their medical bills, lost wages and other related damages. However, in some cases, a personal injury claim is more appropriate for work accidents and injuries.
Injured workers should consider whether a worker’s compensation or personal injury claim option is appropriate for their situation. Whether employees file one compensation claim over the other, or even both simultaneously, claim eligibility depends on compensation limits and the determination of who bears fault and responsibility for the injury.
Worker’s compensation claims
The vast majority of work injuries are eligible for worker’s compensation claims, provided they occur during work hours and while completing work responsibilities. Worker’s compensation is federally mandated for most employers in the United States, and benefits cover illnesses and injuries incurred due to accidents and disasters in the workplace or at a work site.
Personal injury claims
Often, work-related injuries are the result of a third party’s negligence or failure to provide proper safety precautions. In these cases, employees can pursue a personal injury claim. Personal injury lawsuits require the injured party to prove that another person or entity was at fault, either because of neglect or purposeful action.
In personal injury claims, injured parties can seek additional compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages and legal action against an employer. Worker’s compensation claims prohibit employees from filing personal injury claims against an employer or coworker, though both claim types are valid simultaneously if a third party caused the injury.
Employees should consider the circumstances of their injury to determine whether a worker’s compensation, personal injury or combination claim is right for their case.