If you or someone you love suffered injuries in an accident, you can seek compensation. To recover damages, you need to know who to pursue your specific case. Unlike workers’ compensation attorneys, personal injury attorneys must demonstrate fault for an accident and likely have multiple practice areas. Additional differences include the types of damages they demand on your behalf and whether or not they need to prove negligence in your case.
A personal injury lawyer can also recover damages that compensate you for the physical and emotional distress your injuries cause. The best way to understand the difference between these types of lawyers and which one you need to fight for you is by reviewing your case. Both types of attorneys will usually offer a free consultation.
Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Attorneys Pursue Different Types of Compensation
After an accident caused by the negligence of another person or entity, your personal injury attorney will help you recover the following forms of compensation:
- Economic damages, including past, present, and future medical bills, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, property damage or destruction, and diminished property value
- Non-economic damages, including physical disability, physical disfigurement, ongoing pain and suffering, mental and emotional trauma, and loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death damages, if applicable, including funeral and burial expenses, loss of the decedent’s financial and domestic contributions, and loss of consortium, support, and companionship
After suffering a workplace injury or illness, your workers’ compensation attorney will demand the following benefits for you:
- Medical care to treat your injury or illness from diagnosis until you reach maximum medical improvement, including all emergency, follow-up, and ongoing medical, rehab, and therapy expenses
- Financial compensation, including two-thirds of your average weekly wages while you cannot return to work and lump-sum financial benefits, where available
- Death benefits, including some or all funeral expenses and installment or lump sum payments
Your personal injury or workers’ compensation lawyer will calculate your damages to avoid having your compensation or benefits undervalued or underpaid. They will carefully assess your damages and fight hard for the best possible financial outcome for you.
Pain and Suffering in Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Cases
The injuries you suffer as the result of an accident can leave you with considerable—and potentially long-lasting—physical discomfort. They can also take a psychological toll on your mental health. Pain and suffering can refer to the physical discomfort and emotional distress you can recover in the non-economic damages portion of your personal injury case. It can include:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Inability to participate in previously enjoyed activities
A personal injury lawyer can recover some forms of compensation that are not recoverable via a workers’ compensation case. Physical and emotional pain and suffering are damages that cannot be included in your request for workers’ compensation benefits.
Personal Injury Attorneys Represent More Practice Areas Than Workers’ Compensation Attorneys
A workers’ compensation attorney represents injured employees who get hurt at work or suffer a work-related illness or disease. They can represent you in filing a claim against your employer’s insurance company.
A personal injury lawyer can accept clients in a variety of practice areas, including:
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Wrongful death cases
- Dog bites or attacks
Personal injury lawyers also represent victims of motor vehicle accidents, including car, truck, rideshare, and bus accidents. If another person’s or entity’s negligence was the cause of your accident, a personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages.
Understanding Fault in Personal Injury Versus Workers’ Compensation Cases
A personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages after an accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Your lawyer will collect evidence that proves the negligent action that caused your injuries. They will identify the at-fault party and demand appropriate compensation from them or their insurance company.
Your lawyer can settle your case without going to court by negotiating a settlement based on the weight of the evidence. The evidence they collect for you needs to prove cause and cost. It can include:
- Medical records
- Income records
- Accident report
- Injury photos
- Accident scene photos
- Witness statements
A workers’ compensation lawyer will not have the same legal burden of proving fault or liability. Instead, they only have to prove your injury or illness happened at your job since you are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault. Your lawyer will collect evidence that proves where and when your injury or illness occurred.
Evidence your workers’ compensation lawyer collects only needs to prove the connection to your job and your injury or illness. It can include:
- Internal accident reports
- Witness Statements
- Photos and videos
- Medical records
Both types of attorneys will usually collect evidence and build your case at no upfront cost, instead accepting a percentage of the compensation you recover as their fee.
Who a Personal Injury vs Workers Compensation Attorney Pursues for Compensation
If you were injured by someone else’s negligence, your lawyer will pursue them directly or the insurance company that provides coverage. The damages you can recover could be subject to the limitations of their insurance policy. In some cases (for example, in a hit-and-run accident), your lawyer will help you recover damages from your own insurance company.
If your employer meets the qualifications for your state, they are required to have workers’ compensation insurance. Your workers’ compensation lawyer will pursue medical and financial benefits from your employer’s insurer. They will prove the value of your lost wages and fight for an accurate assessment of your average weekly wages since this amount determines the financial compensation portion of your case.
Get Legal Guidance and Support After an Injury
If you or a loved one suffered an accidental injury, you are entitled to compensation. By understanding the five differences between a personal injury & workers’ compensation attorney, you can demand compensation from the appropriate party.Contact our case review team at KJT Law Group by calling (818) 507-8525 to start pursuing the compensation or benefits you deserve.