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Workers Compensation vs Personal Injury

Erwin, McCane & Daly | Thursday, June 11, 2015

Advice from a Workers' Compensation Attorney in Schenectady, NY

Being injured on the job brings up a lot of questions and uncertainties. One of the most common questions is regarding the difference between personal injury and workers' compensation. The main difference between these two areas of the law is that a personal injury case requires proof of negligence and fault, while a workers’ compensation claim does not.

Proving Fault: Needed in Personal Injury, Not Workers Compensation

Fault has to be proved for a personal injury claim. To file a claim, you must prove that someone acted negligently and their negligence led to your injury. In a workers compensation case, you are entitled to benefits for work-related injuries – whether fault is present or not. You do not need to prove your employer or co-worker was negligent. You could even be at fault for your own injuries and still receive compensation. In a personal injury case, you may eliminate your eligibility for compensation if you caused the injury.

Sometimes Work-Related Injuries Become Personal Injury Lawsuits

There are instances where it is best to file a personal injury lawsuit in a work-related injury case. Determining this, however, is difficult. It is best if you speak with a workers' compensation law firm before assuming you have a case for a personal injury lawsuit. Some instances where filing a lawsuit is better than applying for workers compensation include:

  • Your Employer Hurt You Intentionally – If your employer caused intentional harm, you must prove they took actions with the intent to hurt you. This refers to intentional acts only – negligent acts do not qualify. Such as your boss physically hitting you with an object.
  • There is Insufficient Workers' Compensation Insurance – Employers are required to carry workers compensation insurance, but not all employers do, and even those with coverage may not have enough. You may be able to file a lawsuit to recover damages if the workers compensation insurance is inadequate or non-existent.
  • Other Contributing Factors - A personal injury claim may arise if someone other than your employer or co-employee contributed to or caused the injury.

To find out if you have a worker’s compensation case or personal injury claim, speak with a workers compensation lawyer. The attorneys at Erwin, McCane & Daly can assess your case and determine which type of claim better suits the circumstances. Call us today at 518-449-2245 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.