The Difference Between Workers’ Compensation & Personal Injury Claims

If you experience an injury at work, you likely have a few different avenues for recovery. 

Workers’ compensation and personal injury claims could both potentially apply to your specific incident. You have likely heard of both of these forms of compensation, but which do you pursue? Is there a difference between workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim?

Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation is an insurance policy maintained by most employers. If an employer has even just one or two employees they still must have workman’s compensation insurance. In Ohio, that coverage can be provided by the employer directly when it’s self insured or via the state fund. This coverage helps to compensate injured employees when the injury is sustained during the course of their employment. That claim can be made regardless of who caused the injury.

Personal Injury Claim

A personal injury claim can be made when a third party is responsible for the incident that led to an employee’s injury. To win the case and ultimately be paid you have to prove that the other party’s negligence caused your injury. A personal injury lawyer in Hamilton, Ohio may help you settle your case or it may be tried in front of a jury. 

Who is at Fault?

One of the main differences between workers’ comp and personal injury claim is the emphasis on fault. It doesn’t matter who is at fault when filing for workers’ compensation, merely that the injured worker was in the course and scope of his or her employment when the injury occurred. In many cases, they injury may be no one’s fault leaving the injured worker to pursue the workers’ compensation claim only.

With a personal injury claim, there must be an at-fault party and it must be proved that this party failed to act with care and caution resulting in your injury. If negligence can’t be proven, there will likely be no damages recovered. As part of an injured workers participation in the workers’ compensation system in Ohio, that worker gives up the right to maintain a separate cause of action against his or her employer in most circumstances.

The Difference in Damages

Additionally, the range of damages available for recovery is quite different when you compare workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. In a workers’ compensation case, you can have your medical treatment paid and recover lost pay and one-time awards for temporary and potentially other types of disability. You may also be entitled to participate in programs such as vocational rehabilitation.

A personal injury case allows you to seek compensation for some of the same damages that you receive in a workers’ compensation case, including medical bills and lost wages. However, in a personal injury case, you can also receive compensation for pain and suffering, something that’s not available in a workers’ compensation claim. In some circumstances, you can also recover punitive damages in a personal injury case. Punitive damages aren’t provided for in workers’ compensation cases.

Can You Make a Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

The short answer is yes. In some cases, you can make both types of claims. We refer to those internally as hybrid cases. We work with a number of workers’ compensation attorneys who specialize in that area to make sure that both claims are pursued properly.

Free Consultation With a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hamilton, Ohio 

If you are hurt at work due to the negligence of a third party, you could have the option of filing a personal injury claim to recover damages. We know deciphering your legal options can be confusing. For this reason, we offer free consultations to go over the details of your case and advise you on the best steps to move forward. 

We can be reached at 513-868-2731, ext. 219 or visit us at  

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