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What’s the Difference between a Workers’ Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Lawsuit?

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Work injury claim form for an injury victim who has hired a Long Island workers' compensation attorney.

Whether you work in the construction industry or an office setting, you can suffer an on-the-job injury that requires you to seek medical attention and to miss work.  At our Long Island workplace injury law firm, we often hear from prospective clients trying to understand the difference between a personal injury and workers’ compensation claim.  Although an employee injured in the workplace might have a right to pursue compensation through both types of claims, the facts and circumstances of the situation will determine which type of claim can be pursued.  In this blog, our New York workers’ compensation attorney compare these two divergent sources of compensation for a job-related injury.

Workers’ Compensation Claims in New York City

The workers’ compensation system essentially provides a no-fault system for employees injured in the workplace to obtain prompt medical care and partial replacement for lost income, as well as a potential settlement if you suffer permanent injury.  While the no-fault nature of the workers’ compensation system means that you do not have to prove the employer’s negligence to receive benefits, the employer’s negligent conduct will not usually be relevant to the claim.

While the no-fault nature of the system is designed to avoid the delay and expense of litigation, workers’ compensation benefits tend to be less than the damages available in a personal injury lawsuit.  While the benefits include medical treatment, partial wage replacement, and potential compensation for permanent disability, personal injury damages like pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, and punitive damages are not part of the workers’ compensation system.  In other words, workers’ compensation provides a more efficient but less complete remedy to injured employees.

New York Personal Injury Lawsuits

While compensation for an on-the-job injury generally must be handled through the workers’ compensation system, this limitation only applies to the liability of the victim’s employer.  Many workplace accidents are caused by third parties at least to some extent.  Workers’ compensation claims only apply to the employer-employee relationship.  A person who falls from a defective ladder on a construction site might have the right to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against the ladder manufacturer and a workers’ compensation claim against the injured worker’s employer.

The workers’ compensation system and civil litigation process are governed by unique and disparate procedural requirements and deadlines.  The ability of an injury victim to obtain the fullest financial compensation often depends on seeking prompt legal advice from an experienced Long Island workplace accident lawyer who can navigate past potential pitfalls and build an effective claim or lawsuit.

Contact a Workplace Accident or Personal Injury Attorney at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

If you have been injured on-the-job, you may be able to file a claim against your employer and or a personal injury claim against the responsible third party. Contact an experienced Long Island personal injury attorney as soon as possible to have your claim reviewed.  Be aware that there is a statute of limitations for filing a claim, so it is recommended you act quickly. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP today for a free consultation at 516-358-6900.

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