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Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims

Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims

Being injured at work can result in significant medical bills, lost wages, and physical and emotional trauma. The same can be said for injuries that occur as a result of someone else’s negligence, such as in a car accident. However, the way people make claims and receive compensation for these injuries differ significantly in the state of Georgia. Injuries that occur at work are most often handled through workers’ compensation, whereas injuries caused by someone’s negligence outside of work can be settled through a personal injury claim.

What Is a Workers’ Comp Claim?

Most employers in the state of Georgia are required to hold workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance provides coverage for medical bills and lost wages for employees that endure injuries on the job. Specifically, workers’ compensation covers the following losses under Georgia law:

  • Doctor visit bills
  • Bills incurred during hospital stays
  • The cost of physical therapy
  • The cost of prescription drugs
  • The cost of travel associated with receiving medical care related to the injury

How Workers’ Comp Differs from Personal Injury Claims

Although an injury incurred at work may be caused by negligence on the part of the employer, the way the employee will go about receiving compensation will differ from an injury that takes place outside of work. There are some fundamental differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims that impact the amount of compensation a person might receive as well as how long it might take them to get it.

When Is Fault Required?

When someone is injured outside of work and files a personal injury claim, they need to prove that the other person is at fault for the injury. For example, if someone trips going down the stairs at a friend’s house and is injured, that friend will not automatically be required to compensate the person who fell. The injured party would be required to prove that the stairs were maintained in a dangerous and negligent manner in order to be compensated successfully.

However, workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. This means that almost any employee who gets injured at work will be entitled to receive benefits through workers’ compensation. The injured party is not required to prove that their employer or anyone else was at fault for their injury. Even people who were injured at work due to their own negligence are eligible for workers’ comp benefits.

Different Damages

The types of damages a person is eligible for after being injured differ between personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. When someone files a personal injury lawsuit, they are eligible to be compensated for all of the damages they suffered if their lawsuit is successful. That includes damages such as lost wages, medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and more.

However, workers’ comp cases limit the types of damages an injured person can receive. Workers’ compensation only allows an injured person to collect weekly compensation, benefits for permanent impairment, the cost of their medical bills, and rehabilitation in relation to their ability to work. Someone who gets injured at work cannot collect compensation for the pain and suffering they endured.

Waiting for Benefits

Another major difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims is that workers’ comp pays out benefits very quickly. A person who has been out of work for 1 week due to their injury can begin collecting benefits. On the contrary, personal injury claims can take months and even years to be resolved.

No Court Necessary

One benefit workers’ compensation has over personal injury claims is that injured parties are not required to appear in court to receive compensation. Filing for workers’ compensation is a mostly administrative affair, with paperwork being the main requirement. However, a hearing will be held if a claim is denied, but claims are only denied on a rare basis.

Personal injury claims, on the other hand, often require litigation to be resolved. This takes a significant amount of time and can cause a lot of stress for the injured party.

Limited Lawsuits

Workers’ compensation prevents most injured people from suing their employers with a personal injury claim. The workers’ compensation laws made sure employees were entitled to weekly compensation and paid medical bills; however, the tradeoff was losing the right to sue employers for negligence.

There are some limited exceptions to this rule. A person who was intentionally injured by their employer at work can most likely still file a lawsuit.

We’ll Fight on Your Behalf

If you’ve been injured at work and need legal assistance securing workers’ compensation benefits, contact Vaught Law Firm, P.C. today. We can help you if your claim has been denied or if you are experiencing difficulties getting necessary treatment for your injuries. With over 20 years of experience, our law firm focuses solely on personal injury cases to represent our clients successfully and comprehensively. We know that this is a difficult time in your life, and you can trust us to work hard to get you the maximum compensation you deserve. Contact us at (912) 335-5000 or through our online form to schedule a consultation.