Being injured in an accident at work is a frightening experience, but it is comforting knowing that worker’s comp will help to cover finances while you’re injured or recovering. However, in some cases of workplace injuries, is it better to file for worker’s comp or personal injury?
At Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier, this is a question we receive quite often. There are several differences between worker’s comp and personal injury, and only the circumstances of your injury should influence the decision you make. For instance, one of the biggest differences between worker’s comp and personal injury cases is fault; a personal injury case is based on fault, while a worker’s comp case is not.
If you or a loved one was injured at work, our NYC personal injury attorneys are standing by. We offer experienced, vigorous legal representation and guidance in personal injury cases. For a free consultation, call our Manhattan law office today (212) 777-9400.
Fault in a Personal Injury Case
A personal injury case in New York is based on fault. In order to win a personal injury case, the injured party needs to prove (with evidence) that his/her injuries were directly caused by the wrongdoing, unlawful action, or negligence of another party, which includes individuals, companies, or other entities. A good example is a slip and fall case; just because you fell on another’s property doesn’t mean that the property owner was negligent.
Some situations when you may be able to sue because of your injuries:
- You were injured by a defective product
- You were injured by a toxic substance
- You were injured because of your employer’s intentional or outlandishly negligent conduct
- Your employer does not carry worker’s compensation insurance
- If a third party caused your accident
No Fault in a Worker’s Comp Case
For the most part, you don’t need to prove fault in a worker’s compensation case. In New York, if an employee is injured in the workplace (that has worker’s comp coverage), that employee is entitled to worker’s comp benefits. You do not need to prove that your co-workers or employers did anything wrong. Except in very limited cases, you are still entitled to worker’s comp even if you were negligent (and that negligence caused your injury).
Damages in Personal Injury vs. Worker’s Comp
If there was fault, and you want to hold the responsible party accountable to his/her actions, then a personal injury lawsuit may be the better option. However, keep in mind that a personal injury case occurs in New York civil courts, and the process can take much longer. There is an advantage to this, nonetheless. For example, in a worker’s compensation case, the injured person cannot claim damages for pain and suffering. In a personal injury case, the injured person can claim compensation for all damages, including:
- Lost earnings
- Future lost earning capacity
- Medical bills
- Future medical expenses
- Permanent impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Compensation for damages in a worker’s comp claim can include weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills, and vocational rehabilitation.
Call Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier in NYC Today
For most workplace injuries, worker’s compensation may be the more efficient (and more secure) way of obtaining compensation for injury-related damages. However, in severe cases where the injury was caused by another party, you may want to consider the benefits of a personal injury lawsuit.
If you’re planning on pursuing a lawsuit, then you need the leading NYC personal injury attorneys at your side. At Hoffmaier & Hoffmaier in Manhattan, we boast years of experience representing clients who were severely injured. For a free, no-obligation consultation with our attorneys, call our NYC personal injury law office at (212) 777-9400.