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What’s the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury?

Posted in Workplace Accidents on February 22, 2022

If you were injured at work, you might be wondering what options are available to cover medical bills and lost wages. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident, you may be entitled to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. 

The basis for workers’ compensation and personal injury cases overlaps in many ways. Both cases involve injury to a person. In both types of cases, the injured party may be entitled to receive compensation. However, distinct differences separate the two types of injury claims.

What is Workers’ Compensation in New York City?

Workers’ compensation is insurance that provides cash benefits and medical care for injured workers. Most workers are covered by New York’s workers’ compensation system

If you sustain an injury at work, you can receive benefits by filing a workers’ compensation claim. Workers’ compensation also covers workplace illnesses or conditions that develop because of your working conditions. 

Workers’ comp benefits include:

  • Reasonable and necessary medical treatment for your injuries, including surgery, medications, medical devices, etc.
  • Partial wage replacement if you miss more than seven days of work because of an injury, or your pay decreases because you work less or had to obtain other employment due to your injury 
  • Survivor benefits when a worker dies because of a workplace illness or injury

You must notify your employer within 30 days of an accident or discovery of a work-related illness to preserve your right to workers’ comp benefits. The deadline to notify the Workers’ Compensation Board is two years from the injury date or the date you reasonably should have discovered a workplace illness or injury. 

You have the right to consult a New York City workers’ compensation lawyer if you have questions about a workplace injury or illness. 

What is a Personal Injury Case in New York City?

Personal injuries include physical, mental, and emotional injuries and harm caused by another person. Personal injury claims arise from many situations, including:

When another party causes you harm, you could be entitled to several types of damages. In a personal injury case, damages include financial losses, such as medical expenses and lost wages. Damages also include the pain and suffering you experience from the accident and injuries. 

What is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

There are three significant differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.

Fault for the Cause of the Injury

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. A worker does not need to prove that their employer was at fault for the cause of their injury to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Instead, the worker only needs to prove the injury or illness occurred during the ordinary course of employment.

However, a personal injury claim requires proof of fault. Liability means that the person who caused your injury is financially responsible for your damages. However, to prove liability, you must prove negligence, intentional acts, or strict liability. 

To show that a person is negligent and therefore responsible for damages, you generally need to prove:

  • The person owed you a duty of care;
  • The person breached the duty of care;
  • The breach of care was the proximate and direct cause of your injury; and
  • You sustained damages because of the breach of duty.

If you cannot prove fault for an injury in a personal injury case, you generally cannot recover damages.

The Types of Damages Recovered for a Claim

Workers’ compensation benefits are limited. For example, lost wages benefits are capped at two-thirds of your average weekly wages, and they can’t exceed the Workers’ Compensation Board’s maximum weekly benefit. Furthermore, the amount you may receive for permanent impairments is limited. Survivor benefits are also limited in workers’ compensation claims.

On the other hand, New York doesn’t place a cap on damages that can be recovered in a personal injury case. Therefore, you can receive full compensation for all damages caused by another party. Additionally, you can receive compensation for future damages, such as ongoing medical care, future lost wages, and decreased earning potential. 

Personal injury cases may also result in punitive damages. These damages do not compensate the victim for losses, even though punitive damages are paid to the injured party. Instead, punitive damages are intended to “punish” the at-fault party for gross negligence and intentional acts. However, punitive damages are only awarded in specific situations. 

A workplace injury could result in a third-party claim. Third-party claims may result in additional compensation for a workplace injury. An attorney will evaluate the circumstances of your situation and inform you of the best options to recover maximum compensation.

Deadline for Filing Claims 

The deadline for filing most workers’ compensation claims is two years. 

Most personal injury claims have a three-year statute of limitations

However, there are exceptions. Medical malpractice cases and wrongful death claims have shorter deadlines for filing lawsuits. The civil deadline for filing a lawsuit for assault is only one year from the act.

It is always best to seek advice from an experienced New York personal injury lawyer if you sustain an injury. Consulting an attorney promptly after an injury can avoid problems with filing deadlines. It also ensures that you have all the information necessary to protect your right to fair compensation for damages.

Contact Our Personal Injury Law Firm in New York, NY

If you need legal assistance, contact the NYC personal injury lawyers at Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers at your nearest location to schedule a free consultation.

We have two convenient locations in New York:

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – New York City Office
450 7th Ave #409
New York, NY 10123
(212) 564-2800

Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel Personal Injury Lawyers – Brooklyn Office
26 Court St Suite 2511
Brooklyn, NY 11242
(718) 802-1600

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