Workers’ Comp. vs. Personal Injury Claims
Finding fault and identifying the correct claim to make is the key to successfully recovering what you have lost after you are injured. If you were hurt at work, the law does not allow you to “sue” your employer. Your only recovery against your employer is through a workers’ compensation claim. In a workers’ compensation claim, with a few exceptions fault does not matter. If the accident was in any way your fault, you are still entitled to receive worker’s comp. The workers’ compensation law in Georgia is designed to provide benefits to help you recover medically, and to survive financially, until you are able to return to work. Unfortunately, in today’s world it does not always work that way. Your employer’s workers’s comp. insurance company will either accept your claim, or if they contend that the injury is not work related, if they believe it did not happen or if they have some other “defense,” they will deny your claim. Either way, whether your claim is accepted in the beginning or denied right away, most injured workers’ need a good, experienced workers’ compensation attorney on their side early on; the sooner the better.
In some cases, you can collect worker’s comp. and make a claim against a third party. If your work injury involved a third party individual or company (not your employer or a co-worker), then you may also have a personal injury claim against the third party. In most cases both claims can be and should be brought at the same time. Again, it is important to hire your attorney as soon as possible, and it is best when you have both such claims to hire an attorney who has the experience and skill to identify all of your avenues of recovery and successfully handle both the workers’ comp. and personal injury cases. If your are otherwise injured outside of the workplace, the key to a successful and lucrative case is to identify the at-fault party and determine any and all avenues of recovery, including all “coverage” (insurance policies) the third party may have.
Whether your accident happened at work or the accident was someone else’s fault, or both, you are probably already considering hiring a legal team. While personal injury claims can result in recovery for damages not available in a workers’ compensation claim, like money for “pain and suffering,” a good workers’ compensation and personal injury attorney can maximize your claim for workers’ compensation benefits and get you the most money allowed by law. Most injured parties who do not hire an attorney, or who do not hire the right attorney for the job, find that they do not get all the benefits and compensation they need (and deserve) to get better, to get back to work, and/or to recover the most money allowed by law to get back what they have lost due to the injury. Often, unfortunately, people do not realize this until it is too late to do anything about it. That is why it is important to hire the right attorney as quickly as possible immediately after your injury occurs.
To successfully recover damages in a personal injury claim, the person initiating the lawsuit must prove that the other party is at fault. This may sound easy enough until we think about the case of a slip and fall. Naturally, the defendant will deny any negligence. They may even try to tweak the story and convince others that the accident was entirely your fault. In a workers’ compensation claim, generally speaking, fault does not matter. However, most times your employer’s workers’ comp. insurance company will try very hard to figure out a way to deny your claim, or deny your claim without any good reason at all. Many times, even though fault generally does not matter in a workers’ comp claim, the employer or their insurance company will try to deny benefits by alleging that the injured worker was somehow to blame. Often, even after a workers’ compensation claim is accepted in the beginning, the insurance company can and will decide to deny your claim after treatment begins, and sometimes even after income benefits have been started. This is exactly why you need the best workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys you can get. At Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC, your fight becomes our fight as soon as we agree to take your case, and we have the skill and backbone to get the job done. Get started right away by calling us now for your a free consultation.
Still Not Sure?
If you’re not sure whether you need to recover what you have lost through a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim, or whether it is possible to bring both claims, consider these scenarios:
- You were injured at work and your employer is ignoring your request for medical treatment, or your employer has not notified their workers’ comp. insurance company and is trying to make your claim “go away.”
- Another party acted intentionally or in a way that was obviously dangerous.
- You were hurt at work by a defective product or equipment. In this case, at the same time you may be recovering workers’ comp. benefits the manufacturer of the defective equipment should also be made to take full responsibility and compensate you accordingly.
- You were involved in a car accident, inside or outside of work, especially with a commercial vehicle.
- Your spouse or a member of your family was tragically killed on the job, or in an accident that was someone else’s fault.
- You are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, but the insurer is denying certain benefits, slow to respond to requests for treatment or medication, or trying to get you to settle your claim too soon or for an insultingly low amount of money.
If any of these situations apply to your injury, give us a call right now at 770-450-6450. Remember, all consultations are free. We are standing by 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.