Understanding the Differences Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Workers’ Compensation Claim
If you or a loved one was injured while on the job, you may be wondering whether to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury claim, or both. There are important distinctions you need to understand in order to successfully obtain a financial recovery for your harms and losses. Here are some of the key difference between the two injury claims.
No Negligence Showing Necessary in Workers’ Compensation Claims
In personal injury claims, the injured party (i.e. the plaintiff) is legally required to establish that the defendant was negligent in their actions, or inaction, and that negligence proximately caused their injuries. If you cannot establish, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant was negligent, then you will be unable to recover through a personal injury claim. In workers’ compensation claims, the situation is quite different. No showing of negligence is required. This means if you are hurt on the job, you are not required to allege that your employer was careless or reckless in some manner. However, in exchange for not having to establish negligence, claimants under Florida’s workers’ compensation system are prohibited from pursuing pain and suffering damages. No such prohibition exists for personal injury claims, which means there is potential for a higher total amount recovered through the claim.
More Flexibility in Medical Treatment for Personal Injury Claims
If you are injured in an accident and are considering a personal injury claim, you have the ability to see whichever doctor or medical professional you prefer. The cost of medical care is generally covered by your health insurance and personal injury protection coverage in your auto insurance policy (if you were hurt in a car wreck). Conversely, if you file a claim through workers’ compensation, you will automatically receive medical benefits. The drawback is that your employer and their insurer has a say in who you can see for medical treatment.
Trial by Jury
In a personal injury case, if your lawyer cannot obtain a reasonable and fair settlement from the insurance company, they can file a lawsuit and you can go to trial. This right is not available in workers’ compensation cases. Instead, workers’ compensation disputes are generally resolved through mediation and hearings, but not with a jury.
Statute of Limitations Longer for Personal Injury Claims
If you are injured in an accident and want to file a personal injury lawsuit, you have four years from the date of the accident. If you want to file a workers’ compensation claim, you have half the time. Yes, you only have two years from the date of the accident to file a workers’ compensation claim. This is why it is important to discuss the timeframe of the accident and when you or a loved one was harmed with an experienced attorney.
Contact Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys Today
As you can see, there are important distinctions between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims. If you were seriously injured in an accident, it makes sense to sit down with a lawyer to discuss the best path forward. The law firm of Alan Goldfarb, P.A. in Miami is here to help. Contact our office today.