Burden of Proof
The most important difference is that a personal injury claim is based on fault and a workers’ compensation case is not. In order to recover damages in a personal injury claim, such as a car accident, slip and fall, or construction site accident, the injured party must demonstrate that the offending party was negligent and at fault for the happening of the accident.
In workers’ compensation cases, employees injured on the job are not required to show that their employers were at fault for the happening of the accident in order for them to claim and receive workers’ compensation benefits. In other words, workers’ compensation claimants do not need to prove that their employers did anything wrong for them to claim and receive workers compensation benefits. Even when a claimant’s own negligence has caused his or her injury, the Workers’ Compensation Law still allows the injured worker to claim and receive benefits.
In a personal injury case, you are entitled to recover all of the damages that you have suffered. This includes lost wages, lost wage earning capacity, past and future medical expenses, loss of enjoyment of life, and past and future pain and suffering.
In a workers’ compensation case, a claimant’s recovery is limited to wage indemnification for actual time lost from work, awards for permanent impairments, and payment of all related medical and vocational treatment. Workers’ compensation claimants do not receive compensation for pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life. Also, all monetary awards for lost wages and permanent impairments are limited by the Workers Compensation Law.
Before states enacted workers compensation laws around the turn of the 20th century, injured employees had to bring personal injury claims against their employers and prove they were negligence before they could receive any compensation. The enactment of workers’ compensation laws ensured that all employees who were injured on the job would get some weekly benefits and would get their medical bills paid. In return, employees lost the right to sue their employers and coworkers for negligence and lost the right to collect damages for pain and suffering.
Still have questions about Workers’ compensation or personal injury? Contact us.
About Losi & Gangi
The law firm of Losi & Gangi is a general partnership of attorneys concentrating the majority of their practice on workers’ compensation matters and personal injury law.