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Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Compensation: What are the differences?

Workplace Injuries and Personal Injury Claims are the same thing, right? Not quite. While they might seem like two peas in the same pod, there are specific legal differences to each. Understanding these differences can help when deciding what to do. There’s always a risk, no matter the nature of your job, of being injured. Being prepared is the smartest thing you can do. 

3 differences between Personal Injury & Workers’ Compensation:

  • Who can sue? Workplace injury compensation laws and agreements are usually created so that employees do not sue their employers. There are limited areas where litigation would be advised when it comes to a workplace related injury. For example, if using a third-party product, service, or tool and an injury occurs, suing the third party while also filing for workers’ comp is an available option. 
  • Who is at fault? Fault does not need to be determined for workers’ compensation claims. In fact, baked into the workers’ compensation agreements is the fact that an employer does not need to admit fault in order to pay for workers’ compensation. This is a benefit for both the employee and employer; because there are areas one can claim workers’ comp that do not need to be the fault of an employer. Personal injury claims on the other hand need to prove negligence
  • Areas of compensation: Personal injury claims cover one major area that workers’ compensation claims do not, that is pain, suffering, and damages caused. Personal injury claims thus include a much broader area of compensation. This type of claim can entitle you to receive compensation for a range of things like lost wages, medical bills, loss of potential future earnings, suffering, and loss of quality of life amongst other things. 

Common Workplace Injuries

The three most common areas of workplace injuries are as follows.

  1. Overexertion
  2. Falls or slips
  3. Contact with equipment or tools.

Injuries can be avoided but understanding your rights as an employee are necessary to deal with unfortunate events. 31% of all workplace injuries are caused by overexertion. Slips and falls are most common at construction sites but can occur anywhere. Most employees are covered by state and federal laws regarding workers’ compensation, but not all. Some employees in certain states might not be covered by these laws because of the type of employee they are. This might apply to certain sectors of the economy as well as certain types of workers. Workers’ compensation can pay weekly compensation, impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation. 

Common Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury cases can deal with many types of accidents, ailments, or impairments caused by malpractice or negligence. Personal injury laws vary state-to-state. Some states follow an at-fault structure vs a no-fault insurance structure. Simply put, some states that follow a “no-fault” insurance structure means that courts will not distinguish between the party at fault and the party which followed the law. South Carolina for example uses a fault based approach. Some common personal injury claims are vehicle accidents (including car, motorcycle, and truck accidents.) Slip and Fall personal injuries fall under comparative negligence. This means the victim of the injury might have to share in some of the blame. The court’s job is to determine each party’s share.

What are your legal options?

An experienced personal injury attorney should be an option to consider when dealing with these types of injuries. But, before you call an attorney, consider a few details first. If you are subject to negligence from another party in a personal injury case or if you are thinking of filing for workers’ compensation benefits documentation is necessary. Try to build a timeline as quickly as possible before filing for either case. This means reporting any workplace injuries to your supervisor immediately. Information regarding the accident is key when considering filing for workers’ compensation. 

How We Can Help

If you’ve been involved in a work-related accident or personal accident that resulted in an injury you may be entitled to compensation.

At Kent Law Firm, we have experience handling both workers’ compensation claims as well as personal injury suits. We understand how the legal process works in SC for these claims and always fight for the maximum compensation for our clients.

Call us today on 803-433-5368 or contact us via this form and we’ll arrange a time to discuss your case.

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