If you get injured at work, you are generally able to recoup your expenses with a worker's compensation claim through your employer. This is different than filing a personal injury claim with an attorney. The following are the differences between a worker's compensation claim and a personal injury claim:
Personal Injury Claims Require Fault
The primary difference in the two claims is that fault is needed for a personal injury claim. This means that there was someone negligent in some way that caused your injury. A slip and fall case is a good example. If you slipped at work on a wet floor, that does not mean that someone who owns the business deliberately placed you in danger with water on the floor for you or others to slip on. Accidents can happen, and worker's compensation covers injuries even when no one was at fault.
Worker's Compensation Does Not Require Fault
Conversely, worker's compensation does not require fault in order to be paid for your injuries. You do not need to prove that your employer did anything to cause your harm, but you will still be paid for your medical expenses and time away from work even you caused your own injury.
Difference in Damages Awarded
A significant difference in personal injury claims and worker's compensation claims is the type of damages you will receive. With worker's compensation, you will not receive any money for pain and suffering. You can claim pain and suffering with a personal injury case. Pain and suffering includes the loss of enjoyment or the ability to do certain things and how difficult day to day life might be for you with a new health condition.
Worker's compensation will only give you a weekly or monthly payment to make up for your paycheck, along with payments for medical bills, rehabilitation, and permanent impairment claims.
You Cannot Get Both Claims
When you are injured at work, you need to keep in mind that you cannot claim worker's compensation benefits then turn around and sue your employer for personal injury. The worker's compensation law was put into place to protect employers from an automatic lawsuit any time an employee was injured.
The law states that all workers who are injured at work will receive some form of payment benefits as well as medical bill coverage. In return, the employee would then forfeit the ability to sue for additional money. You may also not sue your co-workers. For more clarification, contact a workers comp attorney.