If you have suffered a serious injury on the job, you may be wondering whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. Although you may only be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, there are several situations where you could also seek financial compensation from a personal injury settlement.
When a workplace accident was caused by a third party (i.e. a person or entity who is not affiliated with your company), an injured employee may file a separate personal injury lawsuit against that party since they are responsible for the injury.
For example, if you are driving a company vehicle and another driver hits you, you can file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer and a personal injury claim against the negligent motorist. If you are making repairs in someone’s home and unsafe property conditions caused your injury, you may have a personal injury claim against the property owner on top of workers’ comp. If you are working on a construction site and suffer an injury from a defective tool, you may file a separate product liability claim against the tool manufacturer.
On the other hand, there are certain situations where it is possible to sue an employer for personal injury—in addition to obtaining workers’ comp benefits. If your employer intentionally hurt you, as opposed to being negligent at failing to protect your safety and wellbeing, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. Furthermore, if your employer doesn’t have adequate workers’ compensation insurance or not at all, you may also file a personal injury claim.
The main reason why those who are eligible to file both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are encouraged to do so is due to the injured party’s available damages. In a workers’ comp case, you may only receive benefits for past and future medical bills, wage losses up to a certain amount, partial and total permanent disability benefits, and vocational training. In a personal injury case, you may recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, past and future lost wages and benefits, lost earning capacity, permanent impairment, pain and suffering, and even loss of enjoyment of life.
You cannot receive noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering in a workers’ compensation case. But by filing both types of claims, you may be eligible to recover all of the damages available.
If you are eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit for a workplace injury in Georgia, contact our Atlanta workers’ comp attorney at The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC and request a complimentary consultation today.