The Difference Between a Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claim

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How Personal Injury Differs from Workers’ Comp

Sustaining an injury at work or the hands of another person is never ideal, but unfortunately, thousands of individuals across Kentucky face this every year. If you are looking to file a claim, it may be confusing to understand the appropriate channels to go through or what kind of attorney may be necessary for your potential case. Workers' compensation and personal injury are often thought to be the same thing; however, they are very different and require different steps.

Here are four things you should know about the differences between personal injury and workers' compensation.

1. Personal Injury Requires Fault

One of the key differences between a personal injury and workers' compensation claim is that negligence and fault are required to be proven in personal injury. To do so, there are four components of negligence that need to be established:

  • Duty: the plaintiff was owed a legal duty.
  • Breach: this duty was breached by the defendant.
  • Causation: the plaintiff was injured by the defendant's action.
  • Damages: the plaintiff's injury was a direct result of the defendant's action.

Kentucky also observes a comparative fault system that determines the compensation awarded during a settlement or trial. Under comparative fault, both parties could be held responsible for damages, and the amount of compensation received by the injured will be decreased by the percentage of fault contributed.

In contrast, the state observes a no-fault system for workers' compensation. This means that if you are injured performing work duties, you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer and instead must seek compensation for damages under workers’ compensation.

2. You Can Be Awarded Different Damages

Another key difference is that depending on your case, different damages may be awarded. Under workers' compensation, you may receive the following benefits:

  • Any current or future medical expenses related to the incident.
  • Two-thirds of average weekly wages.
  • Vocational retraining.
  • Permanent disability compensation, if applicable.

Under workers' compensation, you cannot obtain damages for pain and suffering. You can, however, do so in a personal injury case in addition to:

  • Current and future medical expenses related to the incident.
  • Current and future lost wages.
  • Property damages.
  • Loss of consortium (companionship).
  • And more.

Both systems also have provisions for loss of life.

3. Different Statutes of Limitations

Another key difference is that there are different statutes of limitations for workers' compensation and personal injury. For workers' compensation, you have two years from the date of your incident to file a claim. For personal injury, this may vary depending on your case:

  • One year: medical malpractice or negligence, slip and falls, dog bites, and most other cases.
  • Two years: car accidents.
  • Five years: product liability.

It's important to note that if the injury resulted in the loss of life, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit would begin one year from the date of passing.

4. How to Handle a Denied Claim

Under state law, anyone whose workers' compensation claim was denied has the right to file an appeal. This is done through the Kentucky Department of Workers' Claims. However, you may want to consider consulting a workers' compensation attorney to ensure that you understand why your initial claim was denied, follow the correct process for an appeal, and have everything you need to file.

For personal injury cases, your insurance claim may be denied, or you receive an offer from the at-fault party that is insufficient to cover the damages caused. In these instances, it is also highly recommended that you work with a personal injury attorney to obtain the most desired outcome.

Questions About Your Claim? Contact Justice Law Office

Whether you are looking to file a workers' compensation or personal injury claim, trust the team at Justice Law Office to be by your side every step of the way. Our attorneys have decades of combined experience and aim to provide the representation that you deserve.

To schedule a consultation with a member of our team, call (502) 822-2230 or fill out this short form.

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