Understanding the Differences Between Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury Cases

Suffering an injury of any kind is painful and can be serious or disabling. If you are injured due to the negligence or recklessness of someone else, you may be able to obtain money damages for your injury. Two options for obtaining compensation when you are hurt are a personal injury lawsuit and a workers’ compensation claim—if you are hurt on the job.

Making a workers’ compensation claim in New York

If you are injured or made ill on the job, you likely have access to money and medical benefits from the workers’ compensation insurance policy carried by your employer. Most employers in New York are required to carry workers’ comp insurance, but there are exceptions, such as those working in religious occupations, or those covered by other injury programs like railroad employees, or some workers in the maritime trades.

Workers’ comp is intended to provide quick access to medical care and cash benefits that are calculated based on the wage you earn, and the extent of your disability. You may be required to receive healthcare from the provider selected by your employer, and you must follow other requirements like notifying your employer promptly and submitting appropriate documents.

In exchange for these benefits, you waive your right to legally pursue your employer for the injury you suffered. Prior to adoption of workers’ compensation programs in the US, injured employees were required to prove their employer was at fault before they could receive any money to pay for their medical care. Workers no longer have to prove their employer was negligent, and employers do not have to worry as much about being sued by their employees for workplace accidents.

In very unusual cases, an employee may sue their employer for their personal injury, but there is a high bar for these types of actions. An employer who intentionally puts workers at risk, or who knowingly and repeatedly ignores safety regulations, could be at risk for this type of action when an employee suffers injury on the job.

Importantly, workers’ comp claims pay medical expenses, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, adjusted compensation for permanent impairment, and death benefits if the injury or illness was fatal. With a workers’ comp claim, payment amounts are fairly standardized and there is no compensation for personal pain or suffering.

Personal injury lawsuits in New York City

Just like a workers’ comp claim, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within a certain amount of time of injury, or discovery of illness. Beyond that, a personal injury claim can be made against people, businesses, or organizations whose negligence led you to be injured.

Workers’ compensation claims are limited to injuries you receive during the normal course of your work day, but that is not so with a personal injury matter. Common examples of personal injury matters include:

  • If a truck driver runs a red light and strikes your car, they may be held liable for injury you suffer.
  • As a pedestrian, if you are struck by scaffolding falling from a building, a personal injury claim may follow.
  • If you slip and fall on a wet floor, or old carpeting in a store, the owner may be liable for money damages.

In a personal injury case, the person or parties who are proven responsible for your injury may be required to pay your medical expenses, lost earnings and earning capacity plus money damages for the suffering you endure from the injury. Successful personal injury settlements or verdicts can exceed the regulated benefits provided through a workers’ compensation claim. In some cases, you may be able to make a workers’ comp claim and file a personal injury claim.

On the job or around New York City, if you suffer a serious injury, speak with an experienced attorney about your options for compensation to help you recover.

Skilled injury attorneys serving New York City

With decades of successful experience representing injured individuals and their families in the New York area, Robinson & Yablon, P.C. delivers aggressive, knowledgeable legal service to obtain money damages on your behalf. Call (646) 832-2853 or contact us today to discuss the circumstances of your injury.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *