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What is the Difference Between a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Posted on behalf of Greg Coleman Law on Apr 26, 2018 in Workers' Compensation

construction worker holding a helmet When a worker is injured on the job, he or she may have several options to recover the compensation he or she needs after the accident.  

Although most employees are entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim with their employer, some may be entitled to additional compensation by filing a personal injury lawsuit against a third party.

However, there are several differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. To find out which course of legal action is available for your situation, contact Greg Coleman Law’s workers’ compensation lawyers in Knoxville for a free, no obligation consultation. We will help you determine if you have a case against a third party that enables you to pursue additional compensation.

Proving Fault

The most significant difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims is that you must prove fault in a personal injury claim.

You must show that the other party had a legal responsibility to ensure your safety and breached his or her responsibility. Additionally, you must prove the at-fault party’s actions directly caused your injury and that you suffered damages as a result.

In contrast, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, which means you do not have to prove your employer directly caused your injury to file a claim. You are only required to prove that you were injured in a workplace accident while performing your job’s required duties.

Compensation that Can Be Recovered

The compensation that you can recover from a workers’ compensation claim is much different than a personal injury lawsuit.

If an employee files a workers’ compensation, the only benefits he or she can receive are paid medical expenses and partial lost wages. The employee will receive these benefits until he or she has reached maximum medical improvement.

However, the types of compensation you can obtain through a personal injury lawsuit is much more extensive. This can include full compensation for the injury and financial losses you suffered after the accident, such as:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Permanent impairment
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of reputation
  • Disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering

Additionally, the timing of when you receive compensation for a workers’ compensation claim is different than a personal injury lawsuit.

When an employee’s workers’ compensation claim has been approved, the employee will being receiving his or her benefits within a few days. In contrast, it may take several months or years to obtain compensation through a personal injury lawsuit settlement or verdict award, depending on the circumstances of the case.

Lawsuit Restrictions

By filing a workers’ compensation claim, you are legally prohibited from brining a personal injury lawsuit against your employer.

However, there are certain situations in which an employee may be entitled to file a lawsuit against a third party involved in his or her accident. For example, if you are injured in a car accident while performing a work-related task, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.

Likewise, if you are working on a construction site and are injured by a contractor or subcontractor who is not your employer, you may be able to pursue additional compensation from the party that caused the accident.

Furthermore, if you have been injured by defective equipment or machinery, you may be entitled to file a product liability claim against the device’s manufacturer.

To find out which legal options may be available, contact an experienced attorney to discuss your claim and the circumstances behind your accident. Your attorney will have the knowledge and skills you need to pursue maximum compensation for your injury.

Contact Greg Coleman Law Today

Filing a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim can be a complex process. Often, it requires an understanding of Tennessee’s laws and the ability to build a strong case that supports your claim.

Do not hesitate to contact Greg Coleman Law’s Knoxville personal injury attorneys to find out which legal options may be available to you after being injured in a workplace accident. We can discuss your claim during a free, no obligation consultation and will only charge you for our services if we recover compensation for your claim.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form to get started today.

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