If you've been injured, it's likely you need compensation to pay for medical bills, replace wages lost while you are unable to work and pay for general expenses that may arise. You might not care where this compensation comes from-you just know you need the money you're owed. Whether you can get compensation for an injury, and where that compensation could come from both depend largely on the circumstances surrounding the incident that led to your injury. Understanding the difference between personal injury law and workers' compensation-as well as the overlap between the two- can be a god first step as you try to obtain the money you need.
Personal Injury concerns negligent parties other than your employer. In a nutshell, personal injury is the area of law that deals with injuries caused by someone else. When a person, business or some other entity fails in their duty to be safe and causes injury as a result, it is known as "negligence." A negligent party can be held responsible by any victims for resulting harm.
workers' compensation is a special area of the law that only deals with injuries or illnesses that are related to your job. Unlike a personal injury case, victims in a workers' compensation action need not show that their employer caused them harm through some oversight, only that an injury occurred and it was work-related. However, workers' comp is generally the exclusive remedy against employers for workplace injuries and illnesses; an injured worker granted workers' compensation benefits cannot also sue his or her employer in a personal injury action.
The types of compensation available through a personal injury action or workers' comp claim also differ somewhat. Generally, workers' compensation benefits are limited to treatment costs, partial replacement of lost wages, disability payments, and occasionally vocationally rehabilitation. Personal injury damages, on the other hand, may include compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs related to the situation.
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