Workers’ Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims in Construction Accidents

Helping you understand your legal options after a construction accident.

Explore the key differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims in construction accidents with The Dressie Law Firm’s comprehensive guide, helping you make informed legal decisions.

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Understanding Your Legal Options After a Construction Accident

Construction work is risky. With workers dealing with heavy machinery, lifting, and electricity on a daily basis, accidents are bound to happen, often leading to injuries.

Seeking compensation after such a situation requires understanding what legal action could help you. You might be confused about whether a personal injury or workers’ compensation claim is the right path. These are two totally different compensation systems, but in some cases, you may be eligible to file both.

Dressie Law Firm understands what is at stake after a construction accident. We also know that understanding the legal processes may not be your top priority as you deal with the accident’s dire aftermath on you and your family. 

Our extensive experience in personal injury and other claims puts us in a favorable position to aid you. We offer legal advice and representation to help you know your rights and the best course of action. Reach out today for a free consultation.

    Understanding Workers’ Compensation

    Workers may suffer injuries due to their jobs. Workers’ compensation is the insurance that covers their medical expenses and other financial support, including wage replacement. All workers, including undocumented workers, usually have the right to workers’ compensation.

    An important factor to note about workers’ comp is that it is a no-fault system. That is, workers don’t need to prove the employer was negligent in their action or lack of action in order to be eligible. In return, employers can’t be sued for negligence, except in cases of gross negligence or intentional harm.

     Workers’ Compensation Benefits

    Here are some workers’ compensation benefits:

    • Medical Bills Coverage: You can expect coverage of your medical expenses, including out and in-patient services, surgery, medication, physiotherapy, and more.

    • Partial Wage Replacement: Injured workers are entitled to recover two-thirds of their weekly pay when they cannot go to work due to illness or injury.

    • Temporary Disability: This is partial or full financial relief when the worker returns to work but cannot perform the usual duties or can work only for limited hours due to the effects of the injury. 

    • Permanent Disability: If the injury or sickness permanently affects the employee’s ability to work, they may get permanent disability benefits.

    • Vocational Rehabilitation: This applies to services that help an employee return to suitable employment in case of a disability, including training and job placement assistance. 

    • Death Benefit: This compensation goes to an employee’s dependents in case of death, including coverage of funeral expenses and other forms of financial support.

    Workers’ compensation comes with several limitations and restrictions, including:

    • In most cases, you cannot sue your employer for compensation outside the workers’ comp.

    • You must promptly report your injury or illness to the employer or risk losing the right to compensation.

    • Your employer may require you to get examined by a pre-approved healthcare provider.

    • There is usually a limit to the amount and period of compensation.

    • There is a return-to-work requirement that may not suit the injured employee.

    Filing for Workers’ Compensation

    Assuming you are eligible for workers’ comp, here are simple steps to follow to file for it:

    STEP 1: Report to Your Employer

    Ensure you report the injury or illness to your employer as soon as you suffer it. You may lose the right to file if you exceed 30 days.

    STEP 2: Seek Medical Attention

    Get the help you need from a certified healthcare provider. Your employer may have a list of approved providers that you can choose from. Keep all the necessary records from your examinations to help you when filing your claim.

    STEP 3: Get a Workers’ Comp Claim Form from Your Employer

    Your employer should provide you with form WC-14 to fill out. You can also find it on the State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC) website. Provide all the information, including how you got the injury, the medical care you received, etc.

    STEP 4: Submit the Form

    File the form with the SBWC via mail or in person. You will find the address at the bottom of the form.

    STEP 5: Follow-up 

    Keep getting all the required medical examinations as you follow up on your claim. Be available to provide additional information or records if needed.

    STEP 6: Receive the Benefit’s Decision

    After a while, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance carrier will send you their decision; it can accept or reject your claim. In case of a denied claim, you can appeal the decision.

    Like every legal process, you may face challenges during the claim’s processing. Disputes may occur between you and your employer; your claim may be denied, and delays and return-to-work worries may occur. A Dressie Law Firm attorney can guide the process while protecting your rights and representing your interests.

    Exploring Personal Injury Claims

    A personal injury claim is a legal case brought by an individual (the plaintiff) who has suffered harm or injury, either physical or psychological, due to the negligence or intentional actions of another party.

    Personal injury cases differ from workers’ comp claims in that the former is fault-based, while the latter is a no-fault system. Personal injury claims can be brought by anyone against any entity or person who has caused them damages, whereas workers’ comp is limited to covered workers of covered employers.

    For construction accidents, personal injury claims are possible if a third party’s negligence or violent acts cause an employee’s injury. However, the victim must be able to prove the liability and negligence of the at-fault party. To establish negligence, the victim must show that the at-fault party had a duty of care, the duty of care is breached, and the breach caused the victim’s injuries and damages.

    Advantages of Personal Injury Claims

    Personal injury claims are more flexible in compensation as victims can recover a variety of uncapped damages. Also, the victim can demand punitive damages and non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, both of which are not available in workers’ compensation claims.

    Pursuing a Personal Injury Claim

    After seeking medical attention, you should gather evidence for your personal injury claim. An attorney will help you get all the necessary documents and evidence, including medical records, police reports (if necessary), witness statements, scene photos, etc. 

    Your lawyer will notify the at-fault party insurance company, file the personal injury claim, and negotiate a fair settlement. If negotiations fail, you can opt for a personal injury lawsuit. Your attorney should advise you on how best to navigate the case and offer the required legal representation in court. 

    Our Atlanta workers’ compensation attorney at Dressie Law Firm can handle the entire process, ensuring you get the best possible outcome for your claim.

    Key Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

    Here’s a summary of the differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims:

    • Workers’ comp claims are no-fault, while personal injury requires the victim to prove that someone was at fault for their damages. 

    • Workers’ compensation covers injuries and illnesses related to your workplace, regardless of fault. Personal injury claims can only be filed for workplace injuries if a third party, such as a property owner, manufacturer, or subcontractor, caused your accident and injury.

    • Workers’ compensation benefits are limited to medical bills, partial lost wages, vocational rehabilitation, and disability compensation. However, personal injury claims can include pain & suffering, lost earning capacity, punitive damages, and more.

    • Filing for workers’ compensation claims has a shorter deadline than personal injury lawsuits.

    How Dressie Law Firm Can Help

    Whether you have a personal injury or workers’ compensation case, Dressie Law Firm can help you. Our law firm has experienced attorneys who practice and excel in both areas.

    Sometimes, more than one party is at fault for your injuries. If this is the case, we are ready to pursue both a workers’ compensation and a personal injury claim on your behalf.

    When you work with a Dressie Law Firm attorney, you can rest assured that we will:

    • Communicate every step of the way

    • Be transparent about the process and its challenges

    • Find solutions tailored to your case

    • Ensure you have all your questions answered promptly

    • Put your interests and rights above all else

    We encourage you to pursue legal action as soon as possible if you experience any construction accident to find the proper solutions promptly.

    Contact a Dressie Law Firm Attorney Today

    Construction accidents can be life-changing depending on the severity of your injury or illness. Therefore, finding the proper compensation helps you avoid unnecessary financial burdens while recuperating.

    It is crucial to understand workers’ compensation and personal injury claims and how the two differ when seeking financial relief after a construction accident.

    Having a seasoned lawyer by your side will offer you legal guidance while filing claims. Take the initiative and contact Dressie Law Firm to get an experienced lawyer for your case.

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!