Virginia Work Injury Lawyers

Workers' Compensation vs. Personal Injury: Understanding the Difference

December 28, 2015 — by Jessica Graziano
Tags: Personal Injury Workers Compensation Workplace Injury

A man in a wheelchairThe legal team at Reinhardt Harper Davis, PLC has helped countless people in and around the Richmond region. This includes injured workers who have sustained major injuries while simply doing their jobs.

We receive a number of questions from injured workers regarding workers' compensation insurance benefits, particularly if these benefits are preferable to pursuing a personal injury lawsuit. Let's go over these matters in brief right now.

About Personal Injury Law

Broadly, a personal injury lawsuit is a type of civil suit filed after and injury accident that was the result of another person or party's negligence.

The personal injury lawsuit collects damages, which are intended to cover material losses associated with the injury accident (e.g., lost wages, property damage, medical bills, pain and suffering). These are known as compensatory damages. Punitive damages may also be sought, which are intended to punish the negligent person or party for their actions.

Examples of Personal Injury Lawsuits at a Workplace

One example of a personal injury lawsuit is an auto accident caused by a negligent driver of heavy equipment. In a personal injury lawsuit, the negligent or inexperienced driver will be held accountable for the injuries and losses that the accident victim sustained.

Another example of a personal injury lawsuit is a slip and fall accident from a ledge or ladder at an industrial workplace. Failure to follow proper workplace safety standards may have contributed to (if not directly caused) the accident.

About Workers' Compensation

Workers' compensation refers to benefits that are collected following an injury sustained while on the job. These insurance benefits will help cover lost wages and medical bills following an injury, assisting in the road to recovery. Workers typically receive around two-thirds of their normal wages as part of their workers' compensation insurance.

In some cases, workers' who were injured on the job and have a legitimate need for workers' compensation benefits may be denied these benefits. That's when one kind of legal fight may ensue regarding these kinds of benefits.

Examples of Workers' Compensation Lawsuits

Say that a construction worker suffers an accidental fall while on the job. The worker should receive workers' compensation to cover medical expenses and the inability to earn wages while recovering. An attorney can assist in obtaining workers' compensation benefits when they have been denied.

Workers' Compensation May Prevent Injured Employees from Suing Employers

While these benefits may be great for covering immediate needs, an employee collecting workers' compensation is typically loses the right to sue their employer or co-workers even if they are directly responsible for the injury accident at work. It should also be noted that workers' compensation benefits do not account for pain and suffering related to an accident, regardless what sort of accident it was.

Taking Workers' Compensation or Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

Deciding between workers' compensation and filing a lawsuit can be a major decision, especially following serious injuries that involved acts of negligence. Given the limited amount of normal wages that are collected as part of workers' compensation, it may actually be in the worker's best interests to pursue a personal injury lawsuit, even with the risks of pursuing one.

For those injured while on the job, we'll be able to discuss the circumstances of your injury and provide a realistic assessment of your options. We will provide counsel to help you understand which option is most advantageous given the nature of your case.

Discuss Your Legal Options After a Workplace Injury

For more information about your legal options following a serious injury at your workplace, be srue to contact our team of work injury lawyers today. The attorneys of Reinhardt Harper Davis, PLC will fight diligently for you and your legal rights and entitlements.

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