Three Major Differences Between Workers' Compensation And Personal Injury Claims

Posted on: 7 June 2016

Depending on the nature of the accident, on-the-job injuries may be compensated by workers' compensation insurance or personal injury settlement. Therefore, it's good to know the major differences between the two forms of compensation. They have major differences in these three areas:

The Need for Fault

You can only get personal injury compensation if you can prove that somebody is responsible (i.e. was at fault) for your accident. This isn't the case with workers' compensation benefits; you may receive them even if no one caused your injuries.

Consider a situation in which you slip and fall on ice, breaking your arm. If you decide to pursue a personal injury case, then you have to prove that another person was responsible for keeping the area free from ice, and they failed to do so. To get workers' compensation benefits, the main thing you have to prove is that you were working at the time of your injury.

The Type of Damages

Personal injury compensation covers all conceivable damages arising out of your accident. As long as you can prove that the other party's negligence led to a specific damage, you may receive compensation for it. When it comes to workers' compensation, you are only entitled to wage replacement, medical bills, impairment benefits, and vocational rehabilitation. The most significant benefit that workers' compensation doesn't cover is that of pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

For example, a car accident that injures your pelvic region may bar you from engaging in sexual relations until you recover. If you are married, then personal injury claim may compensate you for this loss, which is covered under loss of consortium, but workers' compensation has nothing to do with it.


As a general rule, you cannot sue your employer for personal injury if you are injured on the job. This would be the case even if it were your employer's negligence that led to your injuries. There are just a few exceptional cases in which you can sue your employer for on-the-job injuries, for example, if the employer intentionally caused you harm.

In some cases, you may have the option of choosing between the two different forms of compensation or pursuing both claims. A classic example is if you are injured by a defective product at work; you can file a workers' compensation claim and another one against the product's manufacturer. If you find yourself in such a situation, consult a personal injury attorney first to help you determine which route to take to maximize your recovery.