Personal injury claims depend on whether there is fault or no fault laws within a state. However, there may be times where it is appropriate to file a workers’ compensation claim if you sustain an injury while on the job. It’s important to compare the differences between fault and no fault claims versus workers’ compensation so that you know which course of action to take if you are injured by no fault of your own.
Fault and No Fault
Fault is a type of liability that in which a person suffers an injury due to someone else’s negligence. When there is fault involved, the injured person can start a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation to cover the costs of their medical expenses, ongoing treatment, pain and suffering and other damages.
Generally, in a personal injury case involving fault, the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of reasonable conduct so that they could not become injured. Most of the time, the situation involves parties are strangers, but there is still a duty to act within reason so as to not put another person in danger. For example, in the case of a car accident, if the defendant struck the plaintiff because they were driving erratically or while distracted, they did not exercise a reasonable duty of care. This is also known as breach of duty.
In a no fault situation, the defendant is not at fault for the plaintiff’s injury and does not owe them compensation because they are not legally responsible. However, the victim in that situation can still file a claim with their own insurance company. This is common in states that follow the no fault theory of law. In a no fault claim, both parties are responsible for having their damages paid and cannot recover compensation from the other person. For instance, if two people get into a car accident that leaves one person injured and dealing with damages to their vehicle, that person would not be able to sue the other driver. They would have to go through their own insurance policy to pay for their medical expenses and vehicle damage.
Workers’ compensation cases don’t require fault. The workers’ comp system is in place to protect both the employer and employee. The employer is spared from a personal injury lawsuit and the employee receives compensation for their medical expenses, lost wages and more. There is no necessity for the injured worker to prove that the employer or a coworker did anything to cause their injury. Even if the employee was negligent and that negligence caused their injury, they can still recover benefits.
The one big difference with workers’ compensation is that a claimant doesn’t get pain and suffering. Additionally, a person who files a workers’ comp claim waives their right to file a personal injury claim against their employer.
When you are injured at work, you should use your better judgment regarding whether to start a personal injury claim or file a claim for workers’ compensation.