PI Vs. Workers Comp: What’s Different? What’s Similar?
Depending on what circumstances you, an employee, or a loved one might be in, you might have a lot of trouble telling the differences between a personal injury vs workers comp situation. As a matter of fact, many people actually call workers compensation claims personal injury claims, when it’s not actually true in a technical sense.
If an injury happens during work hours, then whether or not they get filed as a worker’s comp claim or a personal injury one will depend on a number of factors. For example, if you slip and fall at your job, it might fall under either category, contingent upon several different factors.
Typically, worker’s comp claims are for very particular conditions or injuries that have been clearly defined by contract or law. Having said that, there are three primary differences between these two types of situations.
For starters, determining fault matters. If a personal injury lawsuit is what you’re going to file specifically, then someone either has to be at fault or liable. For the majority of cases, that’s going to involve some kind of negligence. In contrast, workers compensation might covers some injuries even when no supervisor or employer is at fault.
Secondly, damages are different. In personal injury cases, victims can be potentially entitled to all kinds of damages that they might have personally gone through, which could include pain and suffering, if proven. On the other hand, workers compensation won’t include things like pain and suffering. On top of that, injury damages sometimes get awarded in a lump sum whereas workers compensation is more likely to be a serious of periodic payments, such as weekly, biweekly, or monthly.
Third, the right to sue is different. If you file for workers compensation, you aren’t allowed to file any lawsuit against your employer after that. The majority of cases means that a worker will forfeit his or her right to sue their employer once they file for or start collecting any workers compensation regarding a particular injury.
Interestingly, there are two small categories of employees that don’t actually fall under the purview of any existing workers compensation laws. The first category is interstate railroad workers, who fall under the jurisdiction of the Federal Employers Liability Act, or FELA. Also, crews of vessels, such as freighters and cruise ships, are covered by the Jones Act, which lays out how they can sue employers for injuries, including pain and suffering.
Now that you’ve read this article, you should have some understanding of the similarities and differences between personal injury vs workers comp. As with all legal matters, the specifics of any individual case or situation determines quite a bit, and the complexities of the law likely mean you still have questions that this article can’t hope to answer.