Most people have experienced an accident at their workplace. And given this, most of those people don’t know what to do; what path to take, what decision to consider. If this happens to you, the first thing is that you know that you are not alone. There are many ways to solve the problem, and the most recommended is: go to a lawyer. If you try to “fight the battle alone”, what can easily happen is that the company you work for, wins. That is why having a lawyer by your side can be always very beneficial.

If you ever had an accident at your workplace, the first thing that for sure came to your mind was: filing a workers’compensation claim to pay for your medical bills and help to recover your damages. However, did you know that you can also file a personal injury claim, which may provide you with better compensation than workers’ compensation if the injury was caused by a 3rd party?

Workplace injuries can be serious, severe, and life-changing. As a result, the time after an on-the-job accident can be confusing and scary. Immediately after being hurt on the job, there are three steps you must take:

  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
  • Complete a claim for workers’ compensation DWC-1 form and give it to your human resource department or direct supervisor.

While fault is not always a consideration in workers’ compensation claims, some workers’ compensation claims may be disputed. For example, an employer may dispute a claim if they believe the injury or illness is not work-related. The insurance carrier also has the ability to dispute the claim, and these disputes can affect the timing of when an injured worker received benefits because injured and disabled workers cannot start receiving workers’ compensation benefits until a workers’ compensation law judge decides the claim is valid. In the meantime, workers whose claims are being disputed may be able to collect money through a Disability Program, such as EDD State Disability.

But, what are the differences between one and the other? A workers’ comp claim and a personal injury claim is that the latter is not limited to any specific set of people. In fact, anyone who is injured due to the negligence of another is eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit, including workers. But in order for an injured worker to recover damages through this more broad route, they must be able to prove that another person or party was at fault or negligent, and caused the injuries, besides the employer. Notices how this is different from a workerscompensation claim in which the injured person doesn’t need to prove fault or could be the one at fault them.

A slip or fall type of accident is actually directly categorized as a premises liability claim, another way of personal injury claim based on the defendant slipping or tripping on the property of another and, as a result, suffering some sort of injury. If the person incurs an injury due to the negligence of the property owner is entirely entitled to compensation for their sustained damages from the accident.

The best example of when a personal injury claim may be a good option after a work injury is with an auto accident. If the employee is driving for work and is injured, he can be able to file a claim against other parties that were responsible for the accident. Let´s give a good example if that person was driving a delivery truck when it struck by a drunk or distracted driver, that person can file a lawsuit against the negligent driver.  This possible scenario allows you to file both a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim.

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Written By
Mark Larson
Mark Larson is a partner at Larson, Larson & Dauer, ALC. Mark's practice is primarily focused on workers' compensation, employment law and personal injury. Mark is from a family of attorneys and has grown up watching insurance companies repeatedly deny benefits to those that have been injured by their insured. This is how Mark began to develop a passion for the law and fighting against insurance companies. Mark Larson is a regular contributor on ListaLegal. You can contact him through his profile or website.

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