If you’ve suffered an injury in a workplace accident, you have a couple legal avenues to recover compensation: filing for workers’ compensation, or filing a personal injury claim. The route you take depends on the circumstances of the accident.
Here’s a quick overview of each process to help you determine which is the right approach for your case.
Personal injury claims
To succeed in a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove someone (be it an individual person or an entity, such as a company) was responsible for your accident and resulting injuries. This means gathering evidence and working with an attorney to convince a judge or jury of the other party’s liability, or negotiating a settlement out of court before the case goes to trial. For this reason, the majority of workplace accidents do not result in personal injury claims, because in most cases there isn’t an at-fault party to be held responsible in the case.
The damages you get from personal injury claims also differ from the damages you get in workers’ compensation claims. Personal injury damages are compensatory, meaning you get reimbursed for medical expenses, lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. You also have the possibility to get damages for pain and suffering you experienced as a result of the accident, a type of non-economic recovery that is not possible in a workers’ compensation claim.
So while you stand to recover significantly more money if successful in a personal injury claim, not every claim is eligible, and indeed, most cases are not.
Workers’ compensation claims
Unlike with personal injury claims, there is no element of fault required in workers’ compensation cases. You could even have been the at-fault party in the accident. Fault does not matter—any injured employee is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits (though there are some very limited exceptions to this). This means no need to collect evidence proving an employer or co-workers or equipment manufacturer did something wrong, and no need to try to downplay or evade your own negligence in the incident.
A successful workers’ compensation claim will likely not yield as much in compensation as a personal injury claim, but if there is no element of fault in the case then you do not have any other option to get compensation.
If you’re interested in learning more about the best way to proceed with seeking compensation after you’ve been injured in a workplace accident, we encourage you to contact an experienced personal injury attorney today to talk through the facts of your case.
Schedule Your Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Lawyer
Christopher Montes de Oca is an experienced personal injury lawyer in Los Angeles. Chris is recognized as a “Super Lawyer Rising Star,” a recognition that only 2.5 percent of lawyers receive, because of the exceptional results he has seen and his dedication to his clients. Chris services clients throughout Los Angeles, including Echo Park, Maywood, Long Beach, Whittier, Glendale, La Mirada, Pico Rivera, Hacienda Heights, and Alhambra. Call him today for a free consultation at (562) 901-4664.