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Injured at Work? Can You Also Pursue a Personal Injury Suit?

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Many employees assume that if they’re injured in an accident at work, they only have the option of pursuing workers’ compensation. 

But actually, in certain situations, they can also file personal injury claims. 

Check out the following helpful information to find out if you can pursue a personal injury lawsuit if you’re injured at work. 

What’s the difference between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury suit?

The main difference between workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim is that the latter has to do with fault while the former doesn’t. 

So, to make a valid personal injury claim for a workplace accident, the employer or another liable party must have done something wrong to have caused the accident. 


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For example, an employer may not have fixed the lighting on a stairwell or put safety procedures in place for operating a specific piece of machinery. 

There are other distinctions between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. 

Dolman Law explains more about workers compensation vs. personal injury settlement, but here’s an overview of the key differences between the two. 

Workers’ Compensation Claims

Workers’ compensation claims for injuries at work mean:

  • Fault isn’t required.
  • You have no right to sue.
  • Only employees can make claims.
  • You can’t gain compensation for the pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injury.

Personal Injury Claims

A personal injury claim means:

  • Fault is required.
  • You have the right to sue. 
  • Any injured party is eligible to make a claim.
  • You can recover all damages, including pain and suffering.

Determining Fault

Let’s take a closer look at those differences. 

As mentioned above, to claim workers’ compensation, you don’t have to prove someone was at fault for the accident that caused your injury in order to receive benefits. 

So, even if it was your own negligence that caused your injury, if the accident happened while working, you can receive workers’ compensation. 

On the other hand, to make a personal injury claim, someone, often the employer, needs to be liable or at fault for the accident. 

But to gain compensation, you, with the help of a lawyer, will need to prove that the party was at fault. 

For example, if you have a slip and fall accident, to claim compensation from a personal injury lawsuit, you may need to prove that your employer failed to properly maintain the property.

Claiming for Pain and Suffering

We also mentioned earlier that you can’t receive compensation for pain and suffering via workers’ compensation. You can only pursue and potentially receive compensation for pain and suffering if you file a personal injury lawsuit. 

With workers’ compensation, you can only receive weekly payments as well as benefits to cover medical bills, permanent impairments, and vocational rehabilitation. 

But with a personal injury claim, you can potentially recover all of the damages, including all of the same damages for workers’ compensation with the addition of lost earnings, lost earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

The Right to Sue

When you make a worker’s compensation claim, you usually can’t also file a lawsuit against your employer. 

However, there are certain times when you might be able to sue for damages.

They include:

  • If you were injured by a toxic substance.
  • If you were injured by a defective product.
  • If you were injured by a third party. 
  • If you were injured due to your employer’s intentional conduct.
  • If your employer doesn’t have workers’ compensation insurance.

If you’re injured at work, you should consult a lawyer to find out exactly what your specific legal situation is and whether you can pursue a personal injury suit.


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