Choosing between a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit requires some research into the law, but also an honest assessment of your own situation. Both avenues have benefits and drawbacks, and because each case is unique, your life after an injury can be difficult to navigate without an expert’s assistance.
If your injury was caused by negligence, it may be worth it to take legal action, particularly if the negligence was willful. Not only is the general payout higher in a successful lawsuit than in a worker’s compensation claim, a court may also award punitive damages in the event of outrageous or malicious behavior. Punitive damages, while not to be expected from most lawsuits, are often excessive in proportion to actual damages, because their purpose is to make an example of the offending party. The biggest challenge to any successful lawsuit is the burden of proof. If you were injured but cannot prove that another person was at fault, then you won’t succeed.
Worker’s compensation generally pays less than a personal injury lawsuit, but it comes with fewer risks. Because worker’s compensation is covered by your employer’s insurance, you may be compensated for an injury even if your employer did nothing wrong. While worker’s compensation can be confusing for many, it’s generally easier to file an insurance claim than a lawsuit, so this choice can reduce some costs, even if the benefits are fewer.
In many cases, the choice is made for you. Independent contractors are generally ineligible for worker’s compensation. Likewise, employees may be unable to bring personal injury lawsuits against their employer unless the employer acted willfully or maliciously. Some workers may prefer to avoid the hassle of a lawsuit if all they are seeking is compensation for medical bills and a few weeks’ wages.
If you want to learn more about your legal options after a workplace injury, schedule a consultation with the Franco Firm by calling (813) 872-0929.