Many people wonder whether they can file a personal injury lawsuit when they are injured on the job as opposed to claiming workman’s compensation. The answer is yes you can file a personal injury lawsuit, but it is important to understand the difference between the two types of compensation. First of all workman’s compensation was created to avoid litigation by providing compensation that is fair to both the employee and the employer. Sometimes it is in the best interest of the worker to file a personal injury lawsuit. To file a personal injury lawsuit instead of workman’s compensation it is necessary to prove liability.
Here are some examples of when a personal injury lawsuit may be filed:
- Injuries involving a defective product, in which a products liability lawsuit may be brought against the product’s manufacturer
- Injuries involving a toxic substance, in which a toxic tort lawsuit may be brought against the manufacturer of the toxic substance
- Injuries occurring as a result of an employer’s intentional or egregious conduct
- Injuries occurring in a workplace in which the employer is not required to carry workers’ compensation insurance, or is required but has failed to do so
- Injuries intentionally caused by an employer or fellow employee
- Injuries caused by the negligence of a third party, someone other than an employer or a co-worker
Workman’s compensation will provide compensation for two-thirds of the injured workers average wage, medical care, compensation for a personal injury and death benefits to the survivors if the worker is killed on the job. Personal Injury lawsuits are more comprehensive and can include property damage, lost wages, future earnings, pain and suffering and more. To be able to collect however from a personal injury lawsuit there are many factors that must be proven regarding liability and it can be a lengthy process. Even when there is a serious injury it is up to the injured worker to prove negligence to be able to collect compensation.
Worker’s compensation cases do not depend on determining fault.
Attorneys typically take workman’s compensation cases on a contingency basis and if you do not win, do not take a fee. Personal Injury cases are lengthy and complicated. Your attorney may have you sign a retainer agreement outlining what you will pay when your case settles. Most employees who are injured on the job are sufficiently covered by filing a workman’s compensation case as it was put in place specifically for insuring workers are covered while on the job. Personal injury lawsuits sometimes become necessary and while they have bigger payouts are lengthy, expensive and difficult to prove in court. It is important to take into consideration these differences before you make your decision.
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