Work Injuries: Should I File a Personal injury or a Workers' Compensation Claim?

When a worker suffers an injury on the job, they can either file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. However, many people do not understand the difference between the two options.

Workers’ Compensation

If you have been injured in a work setting, you may be entitled to recover workers’ compensation benefits. According to workers’ compensation law, benefits are available to a worker who is hurt on the job, and no proof of fault is required for benefits to be paid. All an injured worker must do is show that the injury occurred on the job and is associated with the work the employee performed.

An injured worker receives medical care for their injury, compensation for a permanent injury and reimbursement for any necessary vocational training. Additionally, he or she receives non-taxable income equivalent about two-thirds of their average wage on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.

In return for accepting workers’ compensation benefits, recipients are not allowed to sue their employer for additional damages.

Personal Injury

Anyone who suffers an injury due to the negligent actions of another may bring a personal injury case. In order to recover monetary damages, the injured party needs to prove that another individual or entity was at fault and caused his or her injury.

These damages are compensatory, which typically include medical expenses, property damage, lost earnings, and loss of future earning capacity. Furthermore, the injured party may also be eligible to recover noneconomic damages, such as for emotional distress and pain and suffering.

Can I File for Both?

While there are many differences between personal injury lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims, there are some areas of overlap. Workers’ compensation can provide monetary damages to those injured on the job without litigation, but there are several examples when injured workers may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Common instances include:

  • Injuries caused by the negligence of a third party, or someone else other than an employer or coworker.
  • Injuries involving a product defect, in which a product liability lawsuit may be brought against the product’s manufacturer.
  • Injuries caused by an employer’s or fellow employee’s intentional or egregious conduct.

If you wish to file either or both a workers’ compensation claim and/or personal injury lawsuit in New York, contact Lurie, Ilchert, MacDonnell & Ryan LLP and schedule a free case evaluation with our NYC personal injury lawyers today.