Should I File a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Claim?

Nobody wants to get hurt on-the-job. Unfortunately, work injuries happen all the time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), there were around 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries or illnesses in the US during the latest reporting year. When a person is hurt on-the-job, they will likely incur major expenses, including medical bills and lost income. Many people wonder what route they should take in order to recover compensation – a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim?

These are two completely separate things. In some cases, workers may not be able to file a personal injury claim. However, there are circumstances in which workers’ comp is not sufficient. After a workplace accident in Tennessee, contact a Nashville personal injury lawyer to help you navigate the legal process.

The difference between workers’ comp and a personal injury claim

Workers’ compensation benefits are available through the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Every employer pays into this system for each employee they have. Workers’ compensation is considered a no-fault system, meaning a worker is entitled to these benefits regardless of who caused the injuries, whether it was their own fault, the fault of another worker, or their employer’s fault. Workers’ compensation covers an injured worker’s medical bills and a portion of their lost wages.

In most cases, a person who receives workers’ compensation is not able to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Unfortunately, these benefits may not provide the total amount an injured worker needs to recover. Worse, there are times when a claim is denied or disputed by the employer or the insurer.

A personal injury claim may be necessary for a worker who has been denied coverage for a work injury or when they do not receive enough compensation to cover their expenses. Personal injury claims can also lead to significantly more compensation than what is available from workers’ compensation. Along with coverage for medical bills and your full lost wages, a personal injury claim can help a worker obtain compensation for:

  • pain and suffering, as well as any mental anguish caused by your accident or injuries.
  • loss of enjoyment or quality of life, due to not being able to work, enjoy hobbies and activities with family or friends, or engage in everyday tasks.
  • possible punitive damages against the employer if your injuries were caused by their reckless, willful, or negligent actions.

Third parties and work injuries

In many industries, third party contractors are used in and around the workplace. This is particularly prevalent in the construction industry where one major firm handles the infrastructure for a site and contracts with many other companies to perform other site functions (electrical, plumbing, roofing, paving, etc.).

These third-party contractors do not work for the main company. They are separate businesses that may not have the same safety standards as the main firm. If your injuries are caused due to the actions of a negligent or careless third party at work, you are likely able to file a personal injury claim as opposed to a workers’ compensation claim.

Work injuries are serious

Workers in any job setting can be injured, whether you work in construction or have a desk job in an office building. Anyone can suffer a slip, trip, or fall. Workers in any industry can be harmed due to falling objects. Regardless of how you are injured at work, you need to choose the route that will secure the most compensation for your injury-related expenses. Contact a Nashville slip and fall accident lawyer for more information.