Workers’ comp vs. personal injury: What’s the difference?

Being injured at work means you need to get better quickly to return to your job, and you need financial relief from your medical bills. You have different options for seeking this compensation depending on how you were hurt and who is at fault.

Workers’ compensation insurance provides payments for your recovery. However, when a third party is responsible for your injuries, you can file a claim against them. Regarding workers’ comp versus a personal injury claim? A skilled Chicago workers’ compensation lawyer can help you understand your options.

workers compensation vs personal injury

What’s the difference between workers’ comp and a personal injury case?

The most critical difference between workers’ comp and personal injury claims is fault. In Illinois, the workers’ compensation insurance system requires employers to carry no-fault insurance for every employee, even if they only have one. This coverage protects companies from continuous lawsuits and allows workers to get benefits without waiting to find out who is legally liable.

Determining who is at fault in personal injury claims is critical to reaching a settlement or jury award. For workers’ comp, you file a claim and receive payments as soon as your claim is approved. A personal injury case must reach an out-of-court settlement or conclude in a trial before you receive your compensation.

Sometimes, your workers’ comp claim can turn into a trial situation if the insurance provider denies your claim without valid reasons. They may also decide to reduce or stop your benefits when you still need them.

What’s a third-party claim for a work injury?

Sometimes, your injury or illness results from negligent actions by a third party at your worksite or wherever you are on the clock. For example, if you are hurt in a car accident while traveling between job sites, you can file a claim against the other driver. Suppose a vendor, contractor, visitor, or security company is responsible for your injury. In that case, you can initiate a third-party lawsuit against them.

Your personal injury attorney must show the other party was negligent by failing to uphold a duty of care towards you, causing your injuries and expenses. When you can prove liability, you have a solid third-party work injury claim to negotiate a settlement or convince a judge and jury that you deserve the compensation you requested.

What’s the difference in the compensation I can receive?

While workers’ compensation benefits are paid faster, they do not cover non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering. In a personal injury claim, you have the option to request these subjective losses, including mental anguish, permanent disability, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Third-party Insurance companies are also reluctant to pay these costs. You may need to proceed from a claim to trial to fully recover the relief you are owed from a personal injury case versus workers’ comp.

Can you file for workers’ comp and personal injury?

Sometimes, you can file a worker’s comp claim and a personal injury claim against a third party. You usually cannot sue your employer unless they have failed to provide workers’ comp coverage when you have a right to it. Suppose a third party hurt you. In that case, you can receive workers’ comp benefits and a personal injury claim settlement.

However, it’s important to note that your employer may seek to place a workers’ comp lien on your personal injury settlement. This is called “subrogation,” and it allows the workers’ compensation insurance company to force you to pay back any income or medical benefits you received payment for from your third-party case.

Insurance companies will become very aggressive about this action, and you’ll need a tenacious workers’ comp lawyer to prevent them from taking most of your settlement. When you speak with us during your free consultation, your attorney will discuss whether filing a third-party lawsuit will help or harm your workers’ comp claim.

Get your workers’ comp and personal injury questions answered today

Battling insurance companies is difficult for those without the training and experience necessary for success. When recovering from a workplace injury or illness, you need someone you can trust to manage your claim and potential lawsuit. Turn to our Chicago workers’ compensation lawyers for help. Schedule a free case review with Horwitz, Horwitz & Associates by calling (800) 985-1819 or using our contact form today.