While workers’ compensation and personal injury are very similar in nature, there are several differences. In New York State, when you are injured while you are working, the governing law is the Workers Compensation Law. The state requires employers to have insurance coverage specifically for work injuries as you cannot file a lawsuit against your employer or coworkers. The Workers’ Compensation Law is a “no fault” law, meaning it does not look at who was at fault or who was negligent. Conversely, personal injury law looks to see who was at fault for the injury or which party was negligent in causing the injury. The two types of cases can actually stem from the same incident. If you are injured at work due to the negligence of someone other than your employee or coworker you may be able to file a personal injury action besides your workers compensation claim. A typical example of such a situation is an employee being injured in a motor vehicle accident while driving a company vehicle for work purposes. In this scenario, the injured party would be able to file a workers compensation claim with their employer and also file a personal injury lawsuit if the other driver was the cause of the accident. Another common example would be a person who is injured while working on a construction site. There are different rules that apply to construction accidents and people who are injured on a job site very often have both a Workers Compensation claim as well as a lawsuit, or what is often called a Third Party claim. To see whether your injury claim would be covered solely by Workers Compensation or if you have a personal injury action as well, please contact our office to speak with an attorney. Our firm can look at the incident and let you know what type of a case you have and the best way to proceed. A skilled Elizabeth NJ workers’ compensation lawyer is experienced in knowing the proper types of claim to file and can ensure that your rights are properly protected.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Polsky, Shouldice, & Rosen P.C. for their insight into the difference between workers compensation and personal injury.