Sustaining an on-the-job injury is never pleasurable in any way. You may even be confused, unable to decide between filing a personal injury lawsuit or filing for worker’s compensation benefits. Depending on the circumstances of your case, it may be wiser to take one route over the other. If you are struggling to decide on a course of action, you will want to reach out to construction accident attorneys in the area. Understanding the difference between a personal injury lawsuit and workers’ compensation benefits can be challenging. Still, it is necessary if you want to obtain fair compensation for your injury.
Personal Injury Claims vs. Workers’ Compensation Claims
The primary difference between a personal injury lawsuit and workers’ compensation is fault. Suppose you are injured on the job while carrying out work-related tasks and decide to file for workers’ compensation. In that case, you won’t be tasked with proving your coworker, employer, and any other party is responsible for your injury. Instead, you can file for workers’ compensation benefits, even if you were somewhat liable for your injury.
Workers’ compensation is meant to financially protect employees who have been injured in any way while performing their professional duties. If a person elects to file for workers’ compensation, they will only receive compensation for economic costs, not pain and suffering.
On the other hand, filing a personal injury lawsuit can allow injured workers to recover economic and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. To file a successful case, an injured employee will more than likely need the help of a construction site accident lawyer in New York City.
Pursuing Economic and Non-Economic Damages
The critical difference in damages between personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims is that you will not be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering if you file for workers’ compensation benefits only.
You may pursue all the damages related to your injuries if you file a personal injury lawsuit, including the following:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Permanent impairment benefits
- Lost future earning capacity
- Punitive damages
- And More…
In other words, workers’ compensation will help cover your medical bills and permanent impairment expenses. It will also pay for vocational rehabilitation, which can be immensely helpful when the time to reenter the workforce arrives.
There is also a difference in the timeliness of benefits for those who file workers’ compensation claims or personal injury lawsuits. If approved for workers’ compensation, employees will usually start receiving benefits within a few days. On the other hand, it can take months, and in the most extreme cases, years, to finalize personal injury claims.
When Should You File a Personal Injury Claim?
Under certain circumstances, it may be wiser to file a personal injury lawsuit against another party in the wake of an on-the-job accident. In many cases, it is easier to file for worker’s compensation, but if any of the following applies, an injured worker may be able to file a personal injury claim:
- An illegal or toxic substance caused the injury;
- The damage was caused by a defective product, which would allow the injured party to file a claim against the manufacturer of the product;
- The employer’s behavior was grossly negligent, intentional, and likely to cause serious harm or death;
- The injury was caused by a negligent third party that does not work for the injured person’s employer.
- The injured person’s employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance.
If any of the above applies to your situation, you may be able to obtain compensation for your injury.
Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are having trouble deciding whether to file a personal injury lawsuit or file for workers’ compensation benefits, we would be more than happy to help you get the most compensation possible. William Schwitzer & Associates is one of the leading construction accident law firms in the New York area and we have extensive experience helping injured construction workers. Schedule a free consultation with us today.