At first glance, a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim may look the same. However, there are three primary differences between the two types of claims that are essential to making sure you are able to get full compensation for your injuries.
First, workers’ compensation claims only apply to injuries by accident arising out of and in the course of employment. This essentially means that you can recover under workers’ compensation law if you were injured at or during work. For example, the Georgia House of Representatives proposed a bill to allow firefighters in Atlanta who were diagnosed with cancer to bring workers’ compensation claims if they could show their illness was caused by their work.
Personal injury cases, on the other hand, apply to injuries sustained in almost any context where someone or something else is at fault. Unlike workers’ compensation, there is no time or place limitation on when you can recover through a personal injury claim. In fact, a woman in Paulding County recently brought a personal injury claim for injuries sustained when her washing machine exploded.
The second distinction is that in a personal injury case, such as a truck accident, a slip and fall, or a similar claim of injury, you have to show that another person or party was at fault and caused your injury. For example, if you were injured on a business’s property, you have to show that the business was negligent in order to recover. A finding that they were negligent in maintaining their property assigns them with fault for the injuries you sustained from that incident.
In a worker’s compensation claim, on the other hand, you do not have to prove that anyone was at fault in order to recovery. Altering the example above, imagine you were injured on your employer’s property while you were working. You can recover workers’ compensation benefits, even if your injury was not your employers fault at all. Workers’ compensation claims, unlike personal injury claims, allow you to recover for injuries sustained at work that no one was responsible for.
The last major differences between a personal injury claim and a worker’s compensations claim are the remedies available and the amounts you can recover under each claim. Personal injury cases are more inclusive and attempt to compensate you for harms that workers’ compensation laws do not allow for. Specifically, your pain and suffering cannot be compensated by bringing a workers’ compensation claim. More, in personal injury cases, you can recover for injuries that flow from the negligent act of the person you are bring a claim against. These include loss of enjoyment of life, lost earnings and earning capacity, and future medical bills among other injuries. Whereas, in a workers’ compensation case, your recovery is limited to medical bills, rehabilitation pertaining to your employment, and the compensation you would have otherwise received as a healthy employee at your job.
From the differences listed above, it may seem that you have to choose your method of recovery—either through personal injury or workers’ compensation. However, that is not always the case. Georgia law allows for an injured person to bring a personal injury claim against another party, besides their employer, who is liable for the person’s injury. If you were injured “in the course of your employment” because of a hazard on the property of someone other than your employer, you can still bring a personal injury claim against the property owner to recover for your injuries. This situation would allow you to obtain compensation for the pain and suffering that workers compensation does not permit.
Getting a lawyer who understands all of your potential claims for recovery is essential to your case. Mike Rafi is experienced in both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. If you’ve been injured in the course of or outside of your employment, contact us so that Mike can help you get the recovery you deserve. Call us at 404-800-9933.