During the winter season, many Pennsylvanians will find themselves filing injury claims for one reason or another. It could be slipping on ice, terrible driving conditions or a crash from someone suffering from seasonal exhaustion.
However, there is more than one way to file an injury claim. Most of these are filed as “personal injury” or “workers’ compensation.” Even though both of these claims involve recovering from a terrible injury, they are drastically different in terms of what the victim can receive and what they can file the claim for in the first place. Since you have a higher chance to injure yourself during or outside of work hours during the colder months, you should know the primary differences between the two claims.
Where was the injury?
Workers’ compensation is for injuries that happen at work. If you slip and fall within the premises or are hit with a heavy object on site, then you will likely apply for workers’ compensation. If it is anywhere else such as a neighbor’s driveway, a grocery store entrance or the parking lot at your local bank, then it can go towards a personal injury lawsuit.
It’s likely that employees that travel as part of their jobs may question these rules since they have a better chance of not sustaining an injury in a company building. If the worker drives for their job or receive an injury on a work trip, the company’s insurance will likely grant you workers’ compensation since you were traveling for business reasons.
Who is to blame?
The biggest factor that marks the difference between personal injury and workers’ compensation claims is determining who is liable for the injury. At work, you will receive compensation no matter who caused the accident. Because of this, you cannot sue a co-worker or employer even if they were the ones who injured you. The only time you can sue for additional damages is if it was a third party that hurt you. If you are a construction worker repairing the highway and a reckless driver ran into you, then you can file a lawsuit against them.
Personal injury lawsuits focus primarily on liability. If the court finds that someone else hurt you, then they will have that person pay out what you need to recover. However, Pennsylvania also allows for contributory negligence, meaning that the other party may not need to pay as much if the court determines your injury is also partially your fault.
What do you get out of the injury?
Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation law requires most companies to provide injured workers with the necessary medical treatment and compensation for lost wages. Since this should come with almost every job in the state, the you cannot pursue further recoverable damages such as pain and suffering. The only time you can do so is if a third party was involved.
With a personal injury lawsuit, you can try to recover damages for as much as you want. It isn’t tied to a contract or state law like workers’ compensation is, so you can try to receive compensation for whatever you need to recover from your injury.
If you still do not know whether to file a claim for workers’ compensation or personal injury, an attorney can help you figure out the next step to take for your recovery.