Difference Between a Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Case
What is the Difference Between a Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Case is a question that we are asked all the time by clients. Many people believe that they are one in the same. But that is not the case. There are specific differences between the two.
What is the Difference Between a Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Case ?
With a workers’ compensation case, a person has been hurt while working, in the course and scope of employment. The injured worker is in a “no-fault” system. If an injury to an eligible worker takes place while working, the worker’s employer is then obligated to pay certain medical and money benefits. It does not matter whom was at fault for the work accident. The injured worker does not have to prove the employer was negligent to receive compensation and medical benefits. The injured person in workers’ compensation is the claimant.
In contrast, “personal injury” refers to a broad category of potential civil claims. These claims range typically from car accidents to cases such as premises liability. In a personal injury case, the injured person is the plaintiff and the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was negligent or at fault.
Difference in Recovery
In Florida, workers’ compensation limits an injured workers recovery to only:
- Medical expenses
- A percentage of wages lost during their recovery.
By comparison, in a traditional personal injury claim, a successful plaintiff may recover damages for all losses suffered. These can include:
- Lost wages
- Future lost earning capacity
- Non-economic damages for things like “pain and suffering.”
That is an important distinction. There is no “pain and suffering” awarded in workers’ compensation cases.
Who is in Control
Workers’ compensation also gives the employer a great deal of control over the process. The employer (and its insurance carrier) make the decisions in the beginning to give or deny benefits.
If the employer or carrier rejects a claim, the employee cannot seek immediate relief in court. It takes typically about 210 days to get to court after the filing of a petition.
In a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff is entitled to a trial before an impartial jury. In workers’ compensation, there is never a jury, instead there is an administrative hearing before a state official.
Where Did the Injury Occur?
Where the injury occured can make a significant difference to your case. Your legal rights depend on the location and circumstances of your injury.
For example, if you slip and fall on a broken step at a retail store and break your ankle, you can file a personal injury lawsuit against the owner. If you prevail, you can possibly recover full damages.
However, if you suffer that identical injury at your workplace, you will be limited in your recovery. You can only seek to recover medical and lost wage benefits. Those benefits provided by your employer and its workers’ compensation insurance carrier.
The Bottom Line
At Harris Guidi Rosner P.A. we believe that regardless of where you suffer an injury, it is important to investigate and fight for your legal rights. What is the difference between a workers’ compensation and personal injury case ? There are quite a few of differences that can affect your recovery. You may have a Workers’ Compensation Case, or a Personal Injury case, or in certain situations, both.
At Harris Guidi Rosner, our staff of experienced injury lawyer can assist you with many types of claims. Weather it be a Workers’ Compensation case, a Personal Injury case or a combination of both, we will ensure your case gets properly handled.
Please contact the lawyers at Harris Guidi Rosner, P.A. if you would like to discuss your case. We will be happy to sit with you during a free consultation. Contact us at (904) 777-7777 or contact us by email using our simple contact form.