When you're injured in the workplace, it's usually not possible to actually sue your employer for a personal injury settlement (except in unusual cases or if your employer doesn't have workers' compensation insurance). But when you're starting the process of a workers' compensation claim, which is the employees' substitute for a personal injury case, you may find yourself wondering what exactly is the distinction between the two. Here are four differences that distinguish a workers' compensation case from a personal injury case.
1. Court vs insurance
Because you're not allowed to sue your employer unless some type of intentional injury has taken place, products were faulty, or some other such oddity has occurred in the situation, regulations have been put in place to protect you in the event of a workplace injury. These regulations require businesses, especially large businesses, to carry insurance that covers the potential costs of a certain amount of coverage for workplace injuries. This means that a workers compensation case is a matter of an insurance claim, rather than a court hearing. Because you don't go to court, your claim can actually be settled a lot faster than a personal injury case might be.
The coverage provided by your employer's insurance is likely only to cover medical bills and expenses and a percentage of lost wages. This means that you'll still lose money on the time you were unable to work, and you won't receive compensation for abstract things like emotional distress.
3. Attorney's role
In a case that goes to court, such as a personal injury case, your attorney will be expected to represent you in person as your advocate. However, in a workers compensation case that involves no court hearings, your attorney may take a less public role. This role includes claim filing, negotiating, and providing legal advice.
4. No fault
Workers compensation insurance is set up to allow injured workers to quickly and easily receive compensation without proving that anyone was at fault for their injury. This is a bonus because it allows your compensation to occur much faster with less hassle and without the time investment of appearing in court.
These four differences will help you understand the ins and outs of a workers compensation case when the time comes to file your claim. Remember to hire a reputable workers compensation attorney like Modesitt Law Offices PC who will help you negotiate and jump through all the legal hoops.