What you should do in the case of injury on the job hardly crosses anyone’s mind until the injury occurs. Many people assume that their only route is a workers’ compensation claim, but some situations may call for a personal injury lawsuit – or a combination of both.
Many companies’ policies state that a personal injury lawsuit may not be filed against the company or a coworker after workers’ compensation already has been awarded. Because of this, it’s important to know the differences between these routes before committing to either. For expert advice on injuries at work, call Hawk Law Group – (706) 444-4444.
One of the biggest differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury is proving fault. When filing for workers’ compensation, it is not necessary to prove who caused the injury. Even if you are at fault, you might still receive compensation. This aspect of workers’ compensation assumes that you would not have been hurt if not for your job.
Meanwhile, fault or negligence must be proven in the case of a personal injury lawsuit. This could include the fault of a third party outside of the company. Examples of situations that might warrant a personal injury claim are intentional injuries, injuries from defective products, exposure to substances known to be harmful or illegal, and when the employer does not offer workers’ compensation.
Workers’ compensation might cover only economic costs such as medical expenses, wage compensation, permanent impairment benefits, and/or vocational rehabilitation. Personal injury offers additional compensation, such as that for pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.
Workers’ compensation is often awarded in periodic payments similar to that of a typical wage payment. Personal injury awards can be given in lump sums, however, which can help in the short-term process of paying medical bills or buying necessary equipment such as wheelchairs.
Consider Your Coverage
While most private workers are covered by a policy that includes workers’ compensation, not every worker is. Certain companies, such as smaller ones or ones which hire only seasonal employees, may not be required to offer workers’ compensation. There are also two types of workers which are not covered by workers’ compensation laws: crewmembers on vessels, who are covered instead by the Jones Act, and interstate railroad workers, who are covered by the Federal Employees Liability Act.
It is a good idea to consult an attorney before committing to either a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. For the highest level of care, respect and attention – and the results you deserve – contact The Hawk Law Group. Call 706-444-4444 for a free consultation with an experienced Augusta personal injury attorney, or contact us online and we will be in touch with you shortly.