If you are injured in the workplace, the default process would be to get worker's compensation. But if that injury happened as a result of your employer's negligence, then you may also have a personal injury lawsuit on your hands. Here is a guide to deciding which to pursue.
Note: You Can't Do Both
It will be necessary to decide upfront which one you want to pursue. If you decide to file a personal injury claim, you won't be eligible to also get worker's compensation benefits; you would be forfeiting this option. Consulting a worker's compensation lawyer upfront can help you determine whether you really want to give up those rights.
What Constitutes Negligence?
Make sure that your employer truly was negligent in providing a safe workspace. If you are working in a trade such as construction or manufacturing, this could be that they didn't provide you with the safest tools to do your job. They might not have provided adequate fall protection equipment, for example. Or they may have had faulty machinery that they failed to inspect and fix.
If you are in an office space, your employer could still be negligent. For example, maybe they failed to fix a health threat that was brought to their attention, or the work space didn't meet safety regulations.
Why Would You Choose One Over the Other?
This brings us to the two options at hand if you are in a negligence situation. The first would be to pursue a worker's compensation option. This is the more modest of the two options, both for better and for worse. It's certainly the safer option; any injury can be compensated under worker's compensation, regardless of negligence. It's almost an automatic process if your injury occurred on company property. The benefits are fairly standardized, since they are regulated by the government; the insurance company pays for approved medical leave from your job along with your medical expenses.
On the other hand, there is more to gain and lose by going after a personal injury settlement. The judge may decide that the employer wasn't negligent, but by suing the company you might have forfeited your right to claim worker's compensation. But if your claim is successful, you might get a much larger compensation package. Consult a worker's compensation attorney or personal injury lawyer to carefully weigh each option. With a lawyer estimate in hand, you can get a much better sense of which option would provide the better outcome when you consider the likely earnings minus lawyer's fees.
I am a real estate attorney, and I have been helping clients buy and sell property for many years. Some clients do not realize their legal obligations and options when it comes to purchasing or selling a house or land. I hope that this blog will be a way for people to get information about legal issues in real estate and what they need to know when doing business. Buying and selling property can be complicated, and all parties involved have legal obligations. Know what is expected of you, and you will be able to get the best out of your real estate transactions.