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Differences Between a Personal Injury and Worker's Compensation Case

Personal injury and worker’s compensation cases can appear similar on the surface, seeing as someone or ones are injured and need financial assistance paying for their medical bills. However, the key difference between the two is the necessity to prove fault – you need to be able to prove someone else was negligent in a personal injury claim, while no side is assigned fault in a worker’s compensation claim.

In fact, in a worker’s compensation claim the person who was injured may even be at fault, and as long as they weren’t attempting to inflict harm or intoxicated, they are still eligible to receive compensation. The New York State Worker’s Compensation Board states that[1]:

“In a workers' compensation case, no one party is determined to be at fault. The amount that a claimant receives is not decreased by his/her carelessness, nor increased by an employer's fault. However, a worker loses his/her right to workers' compensation if the injury results solely from his or her intoxication from drugs or alcohol, or from the intent to injure him/herself or someone else.”

Determining Fault:

  • Personal Injury Claims: If you are filing a personal injury claim, you need to be prepared to prove that someone else’s negligent actions or inaction caused your injuries. For example, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you need to be able to prove that the hazard you slipped on was caused by the property owner’s negligence, or if you were injured in a vehicle accident that the other driver’s negligent actions directly caused the crash.
  • Workers Compensation Claims: There’s no burden of proof in these types of claims, instead you just need to prove to your insurance company and employer that you were injured on the job site, injured while performing work-related duties off-site, injured because of the operations or tasks performed while working, of injured due to toxic or chemical exposure while working.

Damages Covered

Determining fault isn’t the only difference between these two types of claims. In personal injury cases, you can seek compensation for all pain and suffering along with compensation for your medical bills and lost wages. In workers compensation claims, you cannot seek compensation for any pain or suffering, but your medical bills will be covered, and each type of injury has a general monetary value tied to it. You also may no sue your coworkers or employer in workers compensation claims.

It’s vital to hire a qualified attorney whether you are filing a personal injury or worker’s compensation claim. Determining fault in court can be a tricky process, and your employer or insurance company may attempt to fight back to prevent you from getting the compensation you deserve. At The Perecman Firm, P.L.L.C., our New York City injury attorneys will guide you through the entire process, and will help you structure your claim to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation available to you. Call us today at (212) 577-9325 to speak with one of our NYC injury lawyers, or fill out our online form to tell us all about your case.

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