Should I File a Workers Comp or Personal Injury Claim?

March 2, 2023 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
Should I File a Workers Comp or Personal Injury Claim?

Workers’ Comp vs. Personal Injury Claims

Have you been injured at your workplace or while performing work duties, such as a slip and fall? If so, you may wonder if you should file a workers' compensation or personal injury claim to pay for your medical bills and help recover your damages. 

However, did you know that you can also file a personal injury claim, which may provide you with better compensation than workers' comp? Generally, workers assume that when they are injured at work, the only option they have is through workers' compensation; but in some situations, it's possible to file a personal injury claim for a work accident as well. 

Many believe that this is considered "suing" your boss. However, in reality, a third party may be responsible, such as the owner of the building. In this scenario, the third party's insurance would be responsible for handling the cost of their safety shortcomings. Here, we have provided information about which claim option would work best under particular circumstances:

Workers' Compensation Claim

The main difference between workers' compensation and personal injury is liability. When you are injured at your workplace or off-site while carrying out work-related tasks and decide to file a workers' comp claim, you don't have to prove that your employer, co-worker, or any other party caused the injury. Instead, you are entitled to receive workers' compensation benefits even when the injury was your fault in some way. 

This is exactly what this type of coverage is for. It's meant to protect workers who become injured in any way; even if the injury were their fault, they would not have been injured if they were not on the job working for someone else. 

If you decide to go with workers' compensation, you will not receive anything outside economic costs — for example, pain and suffering. Still, you may recover damages such as medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairment benefits, and vocational rehabilitation.

Personal Injury Claim

The difference between a workers' comp claim and a personal injury claim is that the latter is not limited to any specific set of people (i.e., workers). In fact, anyone who is injured due to the negligence of another is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Still, in order for an injured worker to recover damages through this more broad route, they must be able to prove that another person or party was at fault or negligent and caused the injuries. Therefore, this type of claim is different from a workers' compensation claim, in which the injured person doesn't need to prove fault or could even be the one at fault for the accident. 

Unlike workers' comp damages, personal injury damages are compensatory, which can include medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and damages for pain and suffering resulting from the injury. Notice how workers' comp does not allow for this non-economic area of recovery.

What are some instances when a personal injury lawsuit applies to a work injury?

A person injured at work may be able to successfully file a personal injury lawsuit when the:

  • The injury involves a defective product, which would allow for a claim against the product manufacturer;
  • employer's conduct was intentional or obviously likely to cause serious harm or death;
  • The injury involves a toxic or illegal substance;
  • employer fails to carry workers' comp insurance or didn't because they were not technically required to;
  • The injury was caused by the negligence of a third party that doesn't work for the company.

A workers’ compensation attorney can help you examine your options after an on-the-job accident and review your case with you free of charge. At Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, we will always use our experience and resources to your benefit and ensure that you’re empowered to make these decisions.

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When Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Settlement are Options

Examining a Common Work Injury: Slip and Fall

A slip and fall incident is categorized as a premises liability claim. This type of personal injury claim is based on the defendant slipping or tripping on the property of another and, as a result, suffering some sort of injury. 

Someone who incurs an injury due to the negligence of the property owner in question is entirely entitled to compensation for their sustained damages from the accident. Liability for slip and fall injuries may arise based upon the defendant's control or ownership of the premises where the injury occurred.  

For example, if a company rents its building for office space but does not own it, it might still be at fault for any accidents that occur due to safety violations. These would be under its jurisdiction at the time of the incident, in accordance with its exclusive control of the interior of the rented property.  

On the other hand, the building's actual owner or landlord may be responsible for any bodily harm from a slip and fall-related injury outside the premises, such as injury from a trip and fall on the sidewalk or the parking lot. 

Lack of negligence is the main bargaining chip in a personal injury lawsuit stemming from a slip and fall claim. Simply, the insurance company will argue that their client was not responsible for the incident that caused the injury.  

In addition, they can claim that they were not negligent in creating the hazard before the injury occurred and that they exercised due diligence and reasonable care in lessening or dealing with all dangers that could cause injury.  Instead, it's common for the defendant to attempt to spin the narrative in order to place the wounded at the center of their own misfortune by claiming that the person was responsible for their injury.

Car Accidents While Working

Sometimes, sustaining a personal injury at work can mean that you have the option to obtain more compensation than you would through workers’ compensation. A good example of when a personal injury claim may be a viable option after a work injury is with an auto accident. If you were driving for work when you were injured, you may be able to file a claim against other parties that were responsible for the accident. 

For example, if you are driving a delivery truck when you are struck by a drunk or distracted driver, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.  This scenario allows you to file both a personal injury and workers' compensation claim. 

This is not to imply that it's easy to get compensation from multiple parties; it's not. However, you have a right to know that there are other options out there for you when you are injured on the job. As someone who risks your safety every day for your employer, knowing how you can recover costly damages may be the difference between financial ruin and complete recuperation.

Work Accident Claims Require an Experienced Lawyer

Navigating the legal mazes that crop up when one has to deal with a work accident claim can prove almost impossible without an experienced personal injury lawyer at your side. Insurance companies have all kinds of strategies they like to employ to make sure they pay the least amount possible to a plaintiff. Don't try to fight a battle against a company with way more resources and experience without getting some of your own to secure the settlement you deserve. 

To better understand your case and which option is the most suitable for your situation, contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA. Our lawyers are knowledgeable about a wide variety of personal injury cases as well as workers' compensation insurance and how these avenues can be used to maximize the amount you receive for your injuries. 

You can reach us online, by calling us at (866) 956-4803, or in person at any one of our numerous convenient locations. 

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Florida 33765


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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