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Difference Between a Personal Injury Case and Workers’ Compensation Claim

Friday, Mar. 31st 2017

What is the difference between a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury claim or lawsuit?

The biggest and 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 against someone for a car accident, a slip and fall, or indeed any type of negligence claim, the other person must be negligent, meaning that he/she must have done something wrong.

 

Fault Needed in a Personal Injury Case

A slip and fall case is a good example of fault in a personal injury case. Simply because you slipped and fell on someone else’s property does not mean that the person who owns the property (or anyone else for that matter) was negligent. Accidents, where no one is at fault, do happen. In order to recover damages for slipping on someone else’s property, you and your lawyer must prove that that other person negligently maintained his/her property — i.e., that he/she did something wrong. Similarly, if you are in a car accident, you can only recover damages from the other driver if the other driver was at fault.

 

No Fault Needed in a Workers’ Compensation Case

In a workers’ compensation case, any employee injured on the job is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits, with some very limited exceptions. Workers’ compensation has nothing to do with fault. You do not need to prove that your employer or your co-workers did anything wrong in order for you to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Even if you were negligent, and your negligence caused your injury, you are still entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits.

 

Different Damages

The biggest difference in damages between a personal injury claim or lawsuit and a workers’ compensation case is that you are not entitled to benefits for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. In a personal injury claim or lawsuit, you are entitled to recover all of the damages that you have suffered. This includes lost earnings, lost earning capacity, medical bills, future medical expenses, permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things.

But in a workers’ compensation case, you can only receive weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation.

You cannot receive benefits for pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. This is because the concept of workers’ compensation is basically a tradeoff between labor and business owners. Before states enacted workers’ compensation laws around the turn of the twentieth century, the only remedy that injured workers had against their employers was to sue them for negligence. If the employer was not negligent, or if the employee did not sue or bring a claim against the employer, the employee got nothing.

 

You Cannot Sue Your Employer or Your Co-Workers

The workers’ compensation laws ensured that all workers who were injured on the job would get some weekly benefits and would get their medical bills paid. In return, injured workers lost the right to sue their employers and co-workers for negligence and lost the right to collect damages for pain and suffering.

Source: http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/workers-compensation/difference-personal-injury-claim.html#


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The Northland Injury Law Firm has been practicing in the Kansas City area for many years. Our founders, Max Von Erdsmannsdorff and Steve Mowry, built a strong foundation for the firm. Since Eric Bartlett joined the firm in 1996, Northland Injury Law has earned a reputation for success, honesty and compassion in personal injury and worker’s compensation.

I found Northland Injury Law to be very professional and honest! They kept me up to date on my case. I would highly recommend the whole firm for all your legal needs!!” – Michael T.

Northland Injury Law is proud of the relationships they’ve built with the clients they have served in the Northland and surrounding areas.  Their many great results for seriously injured people have helped their clients recover the significant economic losses that attend such serious injuries.

When it comes to a lawsuit after an accident or injury, representation matters! Most people do not realize that insurance companies have teams of lawyers, investigators, photographers and defense experts who immediately go to work following a serious accident involving their insureds.  They hire these people to minimize their exposure throughout the claims process and to reduce the amount received by the victim. Northland Injury Law aims to level the playing field for their clients.

This is an excellent law firm. They helped me out after an accident and did an awesome job. I would recommend this law firm to anyone who needs a good lawyer.” – Toni B.

Between them, Mr. Mowry and Mr. Bartlett have over  50 combined years of legal experience in the Kansas City Northland area. They have both been recognized by KC Magazine as “Top attorneys in Missouri and Kansas” and both have been recognized in the National Top 100 Trial Attorneys.

If you require the services of excellent local lawyers after an accident or injury, call Northland Injury Law today for a free consultation at 816-400-4878.

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