Differences Between Personal Injury Law and Worker’s Compensation

Differences Between Personal Injury Law and Worker’s Compensation

When a PA worker gets hurt, and pursues his/her rights under the Workers’ Compensation Act, generally speaking, he/she is entitled to two benefits: payment of medical bills and payment of lost earnings.  But when a worker gets hurt on the job and the injury is caused by an outside third party, such as a driver on the road who blows through a red light or a stop sign, then the worker has two potential claims:  a personal injury claim and a workers’ compensation claim.  But there are many differences between the two types of claims that can be essential for choosing one path or both.

Our team at Pyfer, Reese, Straub, Gray & Farhat is highly experienced in representing your personal injury or worker’s compensation cases fiercely and efficiently. We will determine which case is right for your situation and work to provide you with the best possible outcome.

Not All Cases Are Alike

Worker’s compensation cases only apply to those in the workforce. The largest distinguishing difference between worker’s compensation and personal injury cases is that fault is typically irrelevant in order to receive benefits in a worker’s compensation case. The primary proof that needs to be presented in order to receive payment is generally that you were an employee, injured in the course and scope of employment and as a result thereof.

Personal injury cases, on the other hand, are more complicated. These cases provide for an opportunity to gain a recovery for non-economic losses such as pain, suffering, limitations on physical activities of daily living, a focus on how the injuries impacted your life, your lifestyle, your activities, short term or long term.  They also provide for economic losses such as wage loss claims, out-of-pocket payments, or lost earnings.

Some of these cases may settle early, some may not settle at all; if not settled, litigation (a lawsuit) is commenced.  Some proceed to arbitration, others to alternate dispute resolution or to trial.  That process may be time consuming but preparedness and patience to carefully plan and gather documentation relevant to your injuries and situation is key. The attorneys at our Firm will guide you through the process, answer your questions and ease your concern and worries by providing you with a projected timeline; the attorney will walk you through what is involved at every step of the way and make you more at ease.

Where is the Overlap?

Worker’s compensation and personal injury cases actually do have some crossover. These cases can be similar in several ways, including:

·         Injuries involving a defective product

·         Injuries involving a toxic substance

·         Injuries intentionally caused by a coworker or employer

·         Injuries occurring due to the negligence of the third party

While these are areas of overlap and could potentially be pursued under the workers’ compensation Act or a personal injury case, one of the two areas might be better suited for filing the claim; or perhaps pursuing both. Knowing the subtle differences and the interaction between a personal injury case and a worker’s compensation claim could mean the difference between receiving an appropriate recovery from the claim or walking away empty-handed.

The best way to know whether your case should be filed as workman’s compensation or personal injury is to speak with a knowledgeable attorney. Call our team at Pyfer, Reese, Straub, Gray & Farhat if you need more information about worker’s compensation or personal injury representation. Give us a call today at 717-299-7342. We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted in News on by Pyfer Reese.