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When to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim vs. an Injury Claim

When to file a workers' compensation claim vs an injury claim

If you’ve suffered an injury while at work, you have two options to recover compensation: file a workers’ compensation claim, or file a personal injury claim. The path you take depends on the circumstances of the injury, and whether anyone was at fault for the accident that caused it.

Here’s a quick overview of when you’d file a workers’ comp claim and an injury claim to help you determine which strategy makes the most sense for your case.

Personal injury claim

To file a personal injury claim, there must be a party who was at fault for the accident. It could be the construction company for failure to properly ensure the safety of a work site. It could be the manufacturer of a vehicle or piece of construction equipment if there was some sort of defect with that equipment. Whatever the case, in filing a personal injury claim you are accusing another party of being at fault in the accident and thus liable for the damages you sustained.

Workers’ compensation

In a workers’ compensation claim, there does not have to be any element of fault in the case. You yourself may be the one at fault, but that fault is irrelevant. Anyone who has been injured while on the job is entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Employers carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover these payouts should they become necessary. When making a workers’ compensation claim, you file the claim against that policy. Employers are required to provide you with information about your workers’ compensation rights and assist you in the filing process to a certain degree.

One big difference between the two methods of recovering compensation is that you are not entitled to pain and suffering damages in a workers’ compensation case, as you may be in a personal injury claim. You are only able to receive compensation for your lost wages, permanent impairment, medical bills and vocational rehabilitation—noneconomic damages like pain and suffering will not be included in your payouts.

It is also important to note that there are many circumstances under workers’ compensation law in which you are ineligible to then file a lawsuit against your employer or coworkers to collect additional damages for pain and suffering. There are a few exceptions to this, such as if the employer committed an intentional act that caused your injury. There are also a couple classes of employees that are not subjected to workers’ compensation laws who can file full personal injury claims including requests for pain and suffering image: interstate railroad workers and crew members of vessels.

With all this in mind, the vast majority of workplace injuries will result in workers’ compensation claims rather than personal injury claims. But in either situation, it is important to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you through the process and get you the compensation you deserve.

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.

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