What is the Difference Between a Workplace Injury Claim and Workers’ Comp Claim?
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Sarah E. Stottlemyer with Stottlemyer & Associates, LLC.
Injuries may occur at work for a variety of reasons. Some jobs involve inherent hazards or may place an expected level of strain on the body such as jobs that require repetitive motion. Injuries may also occur as the result of an accident or safety oversight on the job. Regardless of how a workplace injury occurs, there may be options for physical and financial recovery. Although both workplace injury claims and workers’ comp claims involve an injury, the two claims are different and may be applicable in different scenarios.
A workers’ comp claim may be applicable in the event of a standard injury.
Workers’ compensation or “workers’ comp” is a type of insurance carried by most employers to help pay some of the medical bills and lost wages for workers injured on the job. In most cases, workers’ comp also protects employers from liability as employees receiving workers’ comp benefits are typically not eligible to file an additional workplace injury claim against the employer. Workers’ comp is a good method of recovery in the event of a standard workplace injury that was not caused or contributed to by one or more parties' negligent conduct. Workers’ comp benefits typically cover limited medical bills and lost wages. Workers’ comp claims are made against the employer’s insurance provider rather than the employer itself.
Workers’ comp claims can typically be handled through the employer or their Human Resources (HR) Department. If you have suffered an injury or illness from a task or hazard within the daily scope of your work, it’s important to inform a supervisor and contact your employer’s HR Department right away. Your employer may require you to visit in-network medical providers and can help you file your claim.
If you run into any difficulty filing a workers’ comp claim with your employer or experience a delay in receiving or refusal to pay your benefits, you may need the help of a workers’ comp attorney. Workers’ comp attorneys understand policy language as well as the legal obligations of an employer to make sure you begin receiving the benefits you are eligible for as soon as possible.
A workplace injury claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit typically filed against the employer.
If an employee’s injury was caused or contributed to by negligent or intentional conduct on the part of the employer, a co-worker, or an unsafe work environment, it may be possible to file a workplace injury claim. If someone is injured on the job and suspects their injury could have been prevented by proper attention to or enforcement of safety protocol, the injured party may be eligible to file a workplace injury lawsuit.
Workplace injury claims are more versatile and can cover a much wider variety of damages, from long-term medical bills and lost wages to pain and suffering and life care expenses. Workplace injury claims can often be filed alongside workers’ comp claims, although workplace injury attorneys typically recommend filing for workers’ comp first; this recommendation is based largely on the timeline for receipt of compensation. Workers’ comp benefits can typically begin right away, whereas it can take years for a workplace injury lawsuit to resolve.
Workplace injury claims are handled separately from workers’ comp claims, and therefore are handled by a different type of attorney. If you suspect negligence played a part in your injury or illness, it’s highly recommended to reach out to a workplace injury lawyer to discuss your options. Like most personal injury lawyers, these attorneys typically offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients only pay if and when their case is won.
If you are uncertain of your options after an injury at work, talk to an attorney.
Identifying negligence can be harder than it sounds, especially if you are not familiar with the extent of the safety regulations in your industry. However, workplace injury and workers’ comp attorneys know how to identify the potential for another claim. Although workplace injury and workers’ comp attorneys are different and handle different types of cases, either one should be able to give you an idea of the avenues for recovery you are eligible for after being injured at work.