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Sawicki Law Firm Blog

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Personal Injury Cases vs. Workers’ Compensation Cases

What makes workplace accidents different than other accidents?

While logistically, an injury resulting in a workers’ compensation claim or personal injury lawsuit may be the same, the law views these two types of cases very differently.  Separate specialized courts handle workers’ compensation claims. These courts operate under different procedural and substantive rules than those of traditional courts. 

In order to receive compensation for an accident that occurred outside of work, a person must be able to show that someone else was at fault for the injuries he or she sustained.  In a workplace accident, even if the result is due the negligence of the person injured, he or she is still entitled to an award.  The courts usually ignore fault altogether in their determination of how much money to which the injured party is entitled.  While personal injury claims are sometimes limited in traditional courts, workers’ compensation claims are highly restricted by the specialized courts. While the type of injury a person sustained may be ground for a high personal injury award, a workers’ compensation court will usually give a smaller award for the same injury.  

Most of the time, the plaintiff in a personal injury case can sue whoever may be at fault.  But, in a workers’ compensation case, the claimant may not be allowed to sue the employer or his or her co-workers outside of the specialized court, unless the party falls into a statutory exception. There are also generally no awards for pain and suffering in workers’ compensation cases, as there often are in personal injury cases.  

The above are just a few examples of the wide variety of differences between personal injury and workers’ compensation cases.  If you were injured on or off the job, it is important to consult with an attorney regarding whether you should file your case as a personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation claim.  The attorneys and staff at Sawicki Law are experienced in handling both personal injury lawsuits and worker’s compensation claims.  If you have suffered an injury in any context, you should contact us today at (888) 468-8844.


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