When someone is injured its important to determine whether they have a personal injury claim, a workers compensation claim or both. For the most part, people do not know the difference between Workers Compensation law and Personal Injury law. Although the differences can vary by state, we will briefly discuss the differences in Florida.
Workers Compensation Law
Workers compensation claims are available to employees who are injured while on the job.A worker has a potential claim regardless of fault and must notify their employer of the injury shortly after they are hurt.If the employer has workers compensation available to his employees, then the injured employee may not sue under the theory of negligence.Unless the employee is injured as a result of an intentional act by his employer will he be able to sue his employer outside of his workers compensation claim.Workers compensation benefits are limited to medical expenses, disability payments and retraining benefits.All of these benefits have specific limitations and a seriously injured worker is usually never adequately compensated for his/her loss.As long as the employer’s insurance company does not deny the claim, an attorney will likely not be needed to assist the employee.Its only when an employee is denied some treatment or accommodation that an attorney should be hired.Unfortunately being denied is often inevitable, therefore its not a bad idea to hire an attorney shortly after opening the workers compensation claim.Many clients worry about hiring an attorney because they fear the attorney will open a claim against the employer, however clients need to understand that the claim is open when the employee reports the injury.Workers compensation cases are filed with the Workers Compensation Judge and are decided by the board if the employer’s insurance company and the employee can not agree.
Personal Injury Law
Personal injury law or negligence law is it is sometimes referred to will apply to anyone who is hurt due to the actions or inactions of someone else or another company. Unlike workers compensation claims, to recover in a personal injury action, the injured party must prove that he was injured as a result of the negligence of another person or company. Unlike in workers compensation, the injured person may choose their own doctors and does not need to constantly report to workers compensation insurance companies and doctors. When dealing with a personal injury claim, there are many defenses which are not available in work comp. For example, in a negligence cause of action, the defendant may be able to produce evidence that the plaintiff negligently caused his own injury. Personal injury cases are filed in circuit civil court and the vast majority are decided by jury verdicts.
Freqently, when a client has a workers compensation claim, they may also have a personal injury claim. This occurs when their injury is caused by an outside party who doesn’t work at the same company as the injured party. For more information, visit our homepage at www.dwpersonalinjurylaw.com or call us at 772-600-8707 or 561-299-3999.