How Workers’ Compensation Claims Differ from Personal Injury Cases

March 23, 2017

Workers who are injured on the job often have to file a Pennsylvania workers’ compensation claim. Some injured workers may be required to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Workers may also have the right to sue a non-employer, such as the manufacturer of a faulty piece of work equipment. Our Philadelphia workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys fight to get workers every dollar they deserve. We bring all appropriate legal claims depending on your situation.

Key differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury.

Some of the key differences between the two types of lawsuits are:

  • In workers’ compensation cases, there is no need to prove fault. As long as the accident happened at work and the injuries are related to the accident, the worker is entitled to medical payments so he/she can work again. The worker is also entitled to 2/3 of the average weekly wages until he/she can return to work, or for specific time periods if the worker can’t return to work. In personal injury cases, the worker has to prove that the employer was negligent in some way and that the negligence caused the injuries.
  • Who can sue. Workers who are employees must bring a workers’ compensation claim. They can’t sue their employer. The basic trade-off is that the worker doesn’t have to prove fault in return for getting the medical bills paid and some of the lost wages. Workers who are independent contractors generally cannot get workers’ compensation benefits. Independent contractors must bring a personal injury action against the employer or any other parties responsible for the injuries
  • In both workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases, the employer or responsible party must pay the medical bills so the injuries can improve or heal. In workers’ compensation, the worker generally gets 2/3 of the lost wages – and they may be entitled to vocational retraining expenses. In personal injury claims, the worker gets the full amount of lost wages. A big difference is that, in personal injury cases, the injured worker is entitled to payment for physical pain and emotional suffering. The pain and suffering award is often very substantial.

Attorneys generally take workers’ compensation cases and personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means the lawyer only gets paid if the case settles. Workers’ compensation cases are heard by a workers’ compensation referee or hearing officer. Personal injury cases are typically decided by a jury.

Non-workers who are injured must bring a personal injury case to recover monetary damages.

The Philadelphia workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at Larry Pitt & Associates handle both types of cases. We fight for injured workers and anyone who was injured because of someone’s carelessness. If you were hurt or a loved one was killed at work or for other reasons, please contact or call 888.PITT.LAW to make an appointment with one of our advocates. We serve clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia Counties.