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What is the Difference Between a Worker’s Compensation Case and a Personal Injury Case?


The similarities between workers' compensation and personal injury cases cause them to be misunderstood. Both cases involve someone suffering an injury. Personal injury cases cover a much broader range of injuries. Personal injury cases involve automobile accidents, slip & falls, and other types of accidents which can occur anywhere at any time. In order to prevail in a personal injury case, the injuries suffered must be the result of someone else's negligence. The negligence may take the form of failure to pay attention in traffic or maintain safe premises for consumers. Workers' compensation cases, in contrast, only involve injuries to an employee that occur during the course of employment.

In Florida it is illegal for an employer to retaliate or even threaten to re1aliate in any way against an employee for filing or threatening to file a Workers' Compensation injury claim. An employer cannot legally reduce your hours, change your schedule or responsibilities, or terminate you, or take any adverse employment action in retaliation to filing a Workers' Compensation claim.

Workers' compensation cases arise from injury suffered on the job. Workers' compensation cases include accidents suffered while on the job, such as a fall from a ladder, in addition to injuries that are caused by overuse or misuse over a long period of time, such as carpal tunnel syndrome or chronic back pain. An injury need not occur at your workplace to be covered by workers' compensation. Automobile accidents, for example, can even fall under the umbrella of workers' compensation claims if they occur while performing tasks related to the employment. Injuries suffered commuting to and from work, however, are not work related and therefore do not result in a workers' compensation case. Workers' compensation benefits are available to employees regardless of who is at fault for the injury. While not all employers carry workers· compensation insurance, the vast majority of employers are required by law to have workers· compensation benefits for employees.

One of our first priorities for every new workers' compensation client is to make sure that you are getting the independent medical evaluation that you need and deserve, not simply the medical treatment that your employer's insurance adjuster tells you to get. We're familiar with many of the physicians regularly hired by workers ' compensation insurance companies to treat injured workers and we 'II be happy to share our personal opinions about the quality and of your medical treatment. We will also offer you opinions regarding treatment you can receive outside of the workers ' compensation system.

An injured employee is required to report an injury that occurred during the course of their employment within thirty days. Failing to report an injury within this period may result in a claim being denied. Once an injury is repot1ed, the employer's insurance carrier is contacted to h handle the injured employee's claim m. A workers' compensation attorney ensures that that their clients are treated fairly by the employer's insurance carrier. The injured employee and the insurance company's interests are at odds. While the injured employee is seeking fast and adequate compensation for her injury, the insurance carrier is attempting to keep its costs as low as possible. An experienced workers’ compensation attorney may prove invaluable should the employer's insurance carrier attempt to den y all or part of an injured employee's claim.

Personal injury cases may arise out of injuries that do not occur during the course of employment. Unlike a workers' compensation case where benefits are available regardless of who is at fault for an injury, a personal injury case requires an attorney to show that the other part y's actions, or inaction, were negligent and the cause of their client's injuries. The damages that can be recovered in a personal injury case are more extensive than those that may be sought by in a workers' compensation case. A personal injury attorney seeks to recover damages necessary to make their client "whole", or put simply, to put them back in the position they would have been in had the accident not occurred. In order to make their client "whole", a personal injury attorney can seek monetary damages for the past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and projected future earnings. A personal injury attorney may also seek damages for physical and mental pain suffered as a result of an injury such as damages for pain and suffering, scarring and disfigurement and permanent disabilities. A personal injury case gives the injured party a wide variety of medical treatment options.

By contrast, in a workers' compensation claim; the employer's insurance carrier generally chooses where an injured employee must receive medical treatment for their injury. There are exceptions to this general rule, and it is important to discuss those exceptions with an experienced attorney.

Despite all the d differences between a personal injury case and a workers' compensation case, they share similarities as well. Both cases seek medical treatment and damages to reimburse an injured party. Workers' compensation cases may even arise out of an accident occurring in a work setting. For instance, damages for an injury suffered while at work, but inflicted by a third­ party other than the employer or a coworker may be pursued in a personal injury and a workers' compensation case. For example, an automobile accident that occurred during a work related task gives rise to two cases. In this instance, a workers' compensation claim could be pursued since the accident occurred during a work related task, and a personal injury case could be pursued against a third-party whose negligence caused the automobile accident. Due to these similarities, it is important for a worker who is injured on the job to consult with an experienced Florida workers' compensation attorney to help inform them of their rights and recover all of the compensation they deserve.

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