Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Monday, June 6, 2016

Workers’ Compensation Claims v. Personal Injury Lawsuits

What are the differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit?

If you are injured in a work related accident it can be difficult to decide who is to blame and who should be held accountable. Although most employers carry a workers’ compensation policy by law, it might not be appropriate for you to file a claim with their carrier. Under certain circumstances, it might be necessary to file a more traditional personal injury lawsuit instead. These types of actions are very different from one another. We will discuss the differences and when each is appropriate below.

You must have been injured on the job or in the line of duty in order to file a workers’ compensation claim. In these cases, you do not necessarily have to prove who is at fault for your injuries. This means you may receive benefits even if you were negligent. Benefits include a weekly cash payout, medical coverage for the injuries sustained and sometimes even a lump sum settlement.

Personal injury lawsuits are very different from workers’ compensation claims. In order to file a personal injury lawsuit in relation to an injury sustained on the job you must have been injured by a third party. Therefore, if you are working on a roadway and are struck by a third party driver, you may have the right to sue that driver.  Note that you cannot sue your employer in a workers’ compensation suit because the law of each state protects employers from these types of lawsuits. But, you may be entitled to workers’ compensation benefits as well under certain circumstances. In other words, filing a workers’ compensation claim does not prevent you from starting a personal injury action, or vice versa. Personal injury suits tend to lead to higher verdicts and settlements as plaintiffs can be entitled to medical costs, lost earnings and other compensatory and punitive damages.

If you were injured at work, you should explore all of your options for compensation. Contact a Montgomery and Bucks County, Pennsylvania workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney today.

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