How Is Workers’ Compensation Different From A Personal Injury Case?
Anyone who suffers an injury at work will likely begin looking into options for seeking compensation to cover medical expenses, wages they cannot earn due to the disabling injury, and compensation for other losses. Understanding the differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit may not be obvious, especially if you know that another person (such as a co-worker, or your boss) caused your injuries due to their own negligence. Moreover, you might be thinking that you did sustain a personal injury at work, and it might not be clear whether you should be seeking compensation through the Florida workers’ compensation system or through a civil lawsuit.
The key difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit after a workplace injury is eligibility: in most workplace injuries, the worker is only eligible to seek workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are some other important distinctions, as well. Consider some of the following ways that a workers’ compensation claim is different from a personal injury lawsuit.
You Do Not Need to Prove Negligence or Fault for Workers’ Compensation Benefits
Unlike in a personal injury lawsuit, with a workers’ compensation claim, you will not need to prove negligence or fault to be eligible for benefits. You will more simply need to show that your injury was “arising out of and in the course of employment” to receive compensation.
Your Own Negligence Will Not Usually Affect Your Workers’ Compensation Case
Generally speaking, a worker’s own negligence will not affect their ability to receive workers’ compensation benefits. As such, you will not need to concern yourself with issues of comparative fault and a reduction in your damages award due to your own negligence. However, it is important to point out that Florida workers’ compensation law does say that a worker can be ineligible for benefits when their intoxication is the cause of their injuries. Yet ordinary negligence will not impact a worker’s eligibility to receive compensation.
You Can Be Eligible for Medical Coverage and Lost Wages
With workers’ compensation, you can receive medical coverage for your injury, as well as wage replacement payments. When you have an injury that results in a permanent disability, you can be eligible to receive impairment benefits.
To be clear, workers’ compensation does not allow you to seek compensation for non-economic losses like pain and suffering. In order to be eligible to seek compensation for those losses, you would need to be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit. In most workplace injury cases, workers’ compensation is the exclusive remedy. However, when a third party is responsible for your injuries, or when the injury resulted from an intentional act, you could be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
Contact Our Fort Lauderdale Workers’ Compensation Lawyers
When you have been injured on the job and need help seeking compensation, the first step is usually to file a workers’ compensation claim. Even if you believe you could also be eligible to seek additional compensation through a personal injury lawsuit, you will want to talk with an experienced Fort Lauderdale workers’ compensation attorney about taking all necessary steps to be eligible to receive medical coverage and payment for lost wages. An advocate at the Law Offices of David M. Benenfeld, P.A. can speak with you today about seeking compensation for the injuries you sustained on the job.