How Do Workers’ Comp Claims & Personal Injury Lawsuits Differ?
If you were hurt on the job, you may be wondering whether to apply for workers’ compensation benefits or file a personal injury claim. While both actions may yield funds for medical bills and other losses, there are some key differences to consider.
Below we’ve outlined some of the major differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury lawsuits in New York:
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Nearly all employers in the state of New York are required by law to purchase workers’ compensation insurance, which covers work-related injuries and occupational illnesses. If an employee gets hurt while acting within the scope of his or her employment, the policyholder must file a workers’ comp claim on his or her behalf.
As long as you’re classified as an employee and not an independent contractor, there’s a good chance you’re covered by your employer’s policy. Exceptions include volunteers, religious officials, and those who are covered under other workers’ comp systems such as maritime employees, railroad workers, police officers, firefighters, and sanitation workers.
If you’re eligible for workers’ comp, you must submit notice of your claim within 30 days of getting hurt. Upon receiving notice of your condition, your employer must report the claim to the Workers’ Compensation Board and to their insurance carrier.
Unlike personal injury claims, liability rarely plays a role in workers’ comp claims. Even if you contributed to the accident in which you were hurt, you may still be entitled to benefits. What’s more, you don’t have to prove your employer was liable in order to recoup funds for medical bills and a portion of your lost wages. In some scenarios, supplemental benefits are available, as well.
What Is a Personal Injury Lawsuit?
For most injured employees, filing a workers’ comp claim is the only financial recourse following an accident on the job. This system was implemented to protect employers from the financial repercussions of facing personal injury lawsuits.
In some scenarios, though, injured workers can bring a personal injury claim rather than a workers’ comp claim. If your employer intentionally set out to hurt you, for example, or does not have adequate insurance coverage, you could bring a personal injury claim.
If a third party is liable for your injuries, that may also warrant a personal injury claim. For example, if you were struck by a drunk driver while making a delivery for your employer, you could pursue damages from the impaired motorist.
Unlike workers’ compensation claims, liability can have a major impact on the outcome of personal injury claims. To recover damages, you will probably have to prove how the defendant is liable for your damages.
Depending on the circumstances, the following damages may be recoverable in a personal injury case:
- Medical bills;
- Lost wages;
- Loss of future earning capacity;
- Other economic damages;
- Pain and suffering;
- Mental anguish; and
- Loss of enjoyment in life.
If a settlement is not reached through the initial negotiations, your attorney may advise you to file a personal injury lawsuit and proceed to litigation.
Call 716-855-3761 to Discuss Your Case with a New York Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
If you were seriously hurt while acting within the scope of your employment, contact LoTempio P.C. Law Group to determine how best to proceed. Our consistently superior results demonstrate our commitment to excellence in every workers’ comp case we handle. Call 716-855-3761 or fill out our Contact Form to schedule a free consultation with a workers’ compensation attorney in New York.