What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Workers' Compensation Claim?

Personal Injury vs. Workers' Compensation Cases

People often confuse personal injury claims with workers’ compensation claims or vice versa. While there are many similarities between the two, there are many legal differences that will ultimately determine how an individual pursues compensation to pay for medical expenses, lost wages, and other related damages.

If you’ve been injured, it’s important that you understand what type of claim you may be able to file. Below, we discuss some of the key differences between personal injury and workers’ comp claims and how our team can help you recover physically and financially following an injury.

How Personal Injury Cases Work

1. Fault Determinations

All personal injury cases revolve around a concept known as fault. This is the case for incidents such as car accidents, motorcycle accidents, slip and falls, or product liability. Essentially, you and your attorney will have to build a case with sufficient evidence showing that another person or entity had:

  1. A legal obligation to you
  2. Failed to uphold that legal duty
  3. The actions caused you harm
  4. You sustained significant damages because of the harm

2. Potential Damages

Once your attorney determines who was negligent and is at fault, you may file a claim against this person or entity’s insurance company. You are able to recover damages related to past and future medical expenses, lost wages, lost earning capacity, pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and lost quality of life.

In Louisiana, personal injury cases also adhere to a comparative negligence rule, which means that multiple people may be found to be partially liable for an accident and the resulting injuries. In these cases, the claimant’s award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that they are found to have contributed to the accident.

3. Denied Claims

It’s not uncommon for personal injury claims to be denied for some reason or another. The insurance company may claim, for instance, that a car accident victim failed to get medical treatment right after an accident. Thus, they claim, there is insufficient evidence linking the claimant’s injuries to the accident.

If this occurs, or if the insurance company offers you a lowball settlement, it may be necessary to file a lawsuit and go to court. An experienced trial attorney will be able to advocate for your maximum compensation in court and ensure your case is built on solid ground. Additionally, hiring an attorney from the get-go can deter the insurance company from denying your claim or offering an unreasonably low settlement offer.

How Workers’ Compensation Cases Work

1. Fault Determinations

Louisiana operates on a no-fault system when it comes to workers’ compensation claims. This means that workers who sustain injuries or develop conditions, illnesses, or diseases due to their work duties do not have to prove negligence or fault to successfully file a claim. Even if an employer took all the steps necessary to keep workers safe, an injured employee only has to show that the injury, accident, or harm that occurred was a direct result of their work duties.

2. Potential Damages

One of the major differences between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims is that damages are often limited in the latter one. While the list of damages in a personal injury claim is quite extensive (as we listed above), the damages available in a workers’ comp claim are typically limited to two-thirds of a worker’s weekly wage for both total and permanent and temporary disability benefits, which may be either partial or total.

Workers’ compensation will also ensure that an injured employee gets their medical expenses paid for, along with vocational rehabilitation costs and permanent impairment benefits. Unlike personal injury claims, workers’ compensation does not cover damages related to pain and suffering or lost quality of life.

3. Denied Claims

If your workers’ compensation claim is denied, there is an administrative appeals process that your attorney can guide you through. To start this process, you can file a Disputed Claim for Compensation form with the Louisiana Office of Workers’ Compensation Administration (OWCA). Don’t worry about doing this all by yourself—a workers’ comp attorney can walk you through this process and ensure all necessary paperwork is completed and filed on time.

Injured? Get Help Today

Regardless of how you sustained an injury, whether it be at work or due to another person’s negligent actions, the New Orleans attorneys at The Chopin Law Firm LLC are here to stand in your corner and advocate on your behalf. We will ensure that you are made entirely aware of your options and guide you through the claims process from start to finish.

Contact our team at (504) 475-2429 to get started with a free case evaluation! All clients work directly with a team of trial attorneys instead of case managers, so you can rest assured your case is in the best hands from the very beginning.
 

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