In many ways, a workers’ comp claim and personal injury claim appear to be one and the same. And while there are some similarities, there are various differences that dictate which option is the best for pursuing compensation after your accident injury. If you’re wondering which path to take, our personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi is here to explain the biggest differences between workers comp vs personal injury in Texas.
Workers comp vs personal injury in Texas: Fault matters
One of the main differences between workers comp vs personal injury concerns fault for your accident and injuries.
With a personal injury claim, you must be able to prove a clear connection between the accident and the negligence of another party.
Take for example a slip and fall accident at a local grocery store. Although you slipped, fell, and injured yourself at the store, it doesn’t necessarily mean that someone was at fault. To recover damages, you and your personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi must be able to prove that the other party — such as the storeowner or store employee— acted negligently.
Now, let’s turn our attention to workers’ compensation claims. Unlike a personal injury claim, you don’t have to prove fault. As long as you were injured on-the-job, you’re entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits from your employer.
You don’t have to prove that another party — such as a co-worker or contractor — did something that resulted in your accident and injuries. Furthermore, even if you were solely responsible for your work injury, you can still be eligible to receive workers comp benefits.
Pain and suffering in a workers comp vs personal injury claim
Regardless of what type of claim you’re filing, your primary point of interest is receiving compensation for all of your damages. With a personal injury claim, you have the legal right to seek compensation for damages known as pain and suffering.
Pain and suffering refers to non-economic damages such as mental anguish, loss of limb, loss of companionship, and reduced quality of life. These are in addition to compensation for economic damages, including but not limited to medical bills, future medical expenses, lost wages, and repair bills.
While you can pursue compensation for both economic and non-economic damages in a Texas personal injury case, pain and suffering benefits are not available in a workers’ compensation case.
Differences in filing deadlines
You don’t have an unlimited period of time to file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. Instead, the state of Texas — just the same as every other state — has a statute of limitations for both.
You have one year from the date of your workplace injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. As for a personal injury claim, you have two years from the date of the injury to file a claim in the state’s civil court system.
A year (or two) sounds like a long time, but it will pass quickly when dealing with your injuries and all the details associated with either type of claim. It’s best to consult with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi as soon as you’re able so they can review the circumstances of your accident and direct you towards the best course of action to pursue maximum compensation.
Can injured workers ever sue their employers?
While it’s uncommon, there are cases in which workers have the legal right to file a personal injury lawsuit against their employers instead of filing a workers comp claim.
There are two small classes of employees that do not fall under the state’s workers’ compensation laws:
- Crewmembers of vessels: The Jones Act authorizes workers on any type of boat to sue for damages, including pain and suffering, if injured on-the-job.
- Interstate railroad workers: With the backing of the Federal Employers Liability Act (FELA), interstate railroad workers are permitted to sue their employer for damages resulting from an on-the-job injury.
If you work in either capacity, it’s critical to understand your legal rights in the event of a workplace injury. With the ability to sue your employer, it’ll alter your approach to seeking compensation.
Can you file both a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim?
It doesn’t happen often, but there are examples of when you may be able to file both a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim after suffering an accident. One of the most common examples if you were driving a company vehicle on-the-job and got into an accident. This allows you to file a workers’ compensation claim with your employer, as well as a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver.
Injured in Texas? Seek help from a personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi
Regardless of where or how you were injured, don’t hesitate to seek medical care. If you don’t get immediate help after an injury, it could impact your ability to seek and obtain benefits in a workers comp or personal injury claim. Not to mention the fact that it also puts your health at greater risk.
Once you receive medical treatment, you can turn your attention to the process of seeking compensation. With the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Corpus Christi, you’ll come to better understand your legal rights after an injury and how to seek maximum compensation for your damages.
At The Burkett Law Firm, our three generations of injury attorneys have helped thousands of clients recover compensation from every type of accident because every case is personal to us. If you suffered a personal injury in Texas and you’re not sure what to do, don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a call to schedule a free consultation today. We’ll make sure you get on the right path to obtaining all the compensation you deserve.