What is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation & Personal Injury?

February 14, 2020

Many people wonder after an accident that happens on the job if they have a personal injury case or a Workers’ Compensation claim. Understanding the type of case you have will help you follow the right procedures to obtain the necessary compensation for your injuries. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your injury, you will either have a Workers’ Compensation Claim, a Personal Injury Claim, or both.

Workers’ Compensation

In the state of Kentucky, most employers are required to carry Workers’ Compensation Insurance or become self-insured, with the exception of some agricultural employers. Kentucky also allows workers to waive their rights to Workers’ comp, allowing them the right to sue their employer instead.

Unlike a personal injury claim, employees who are injured on the job and file a Workers’ Comp claim do not need to prove fault to collect benefits. Workers’ Comp victims are usually well taken care of medically; however, damages such as pain-and-suffering are not included. The compensation also typically includes weekly benefits, permanent impairment benefits, medical expenses, and rehabilitation costs.

Victims with more serious injuries can be left holding the bag when it comes to expenses that are not directly related to immediate medical costs. Compensation for these additional injuries and any pain and suffering are available to other personal injury victims. 

Many companies use an alternate insurer to reduce costs. These plans must be registered as workers’ compensation with the state. If the plans are not registered, the company could be responsible for the damages and will not qualify for workers’ compensation immunity. It is important to speak with a lawyer to understand your rights and the consequences of signing any paperwork.

Personal Injury

As we’ve covered in some of our other blog posts on the subject, personal injury victims must prove that the person who caused the accident owed you a duty and caused you damages. In such a case, it is entirely possible that you may have both a personal injury case and Workers’ Comp case when injured on the job.

Your employer’s workers’ compensation coverage may limits claims against the employer directly, but if your accident was caused by a third party while at work, you may be able to pursue both a personal injury claim and a Workers’ Comp claim. Other situations may allow you to file both claims, such as accidents caused by dangerous or defective machinery or by any other person not employed by the company.

Workers’ Compensation damages are limited and strictly defined by statute, while damages in personal injury cases are determined by an agreed settlement or a jury. Personal injury damages include:

  • Physical Pain
  • Mental Anguish
  • Impairment
  • Disfigurement
  • Medical Expenses
  • Lost Wages

Consult a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Attorney

If you have been injured in a workplace accident, you should inquire about Workers’ Compensation with your employer and also consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer to determine if you have any additional rights to claims against a third-party.

The attorneys at Saladino & Schaaf have decades of experience representing Kentuckians who have been injured while on the job.  Call us today at 270-444-0406 or 270-753-1529. Contact us for a free consultation.




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