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3 Key Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

August 8, 2023

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Two main concerns arise for people who are injured at work: how they’re going to support their families while they aren’t earning paychecks, and who will cover their medical expenses. In Ohio, most employers are required to provide workers' compensation benefits to injured employees to take care of their lost wages and medical expenses. However, this does not cover all types of compensation and, if a third-party is involved, there is much more at stake. This is where the years of experience of the Cleveland workers’ compensation attorneys at Nurenberg, Paris, Heller & McCarthy come into play. We work hard to help injured workers in Ohio get the workers' compensation benefits they deserve.

Workers' Compensation: A Brief Overview

Workers' compensation is a type of company insurance administered by the state that covers the cost of a worker's medical bills and lost wages after a work-related injury or illness. It encompasses many injuries, from serious accidents to conditions that develop gradually due to work hazards.

The primary purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide financial support to injured workers, and to protect employers from lawsuits resulting from workplace injuries. In exchange for receiving no-fault workers' compensation benefits, workers give up their right to sue their employers for damages caused by a workplace injury.

What Compensation Is Available Through Workers' Compensation?

In Ohio, workers' compensation offers several benefits to injured workers, including:

  • Wage Replacement Benefits: These benefits provide income replacement for workers unable to work due to their injuries.
  • Paid Medical Care: Workers' compensation covers the cost of necessary medical treatments related to the work-related injury or illness.
  • Compensation for Permanent Injuries: If a worker sustains a permanent injury or impairment due to a workplace accident, they may be entitled to compensation for their loss of function or reduced earning capacity.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation: Workers who require assistance in returning to the workforce may receive vocational rehabilitation services to help them regain employment.

Personal Injury Claim: Understanding Your Rights

A personal injury claim is a civil action filed by an injured party (the plaintiff) against the responsible party (the defendant) to seek compensation for damages caused by the defendant's negligence or wrongful actions. Common causes of personal injury cases include motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall accidents, defective products, and medical malpractice.

Compensation Available Through a Personal Injury Claim

In a personal injury claim in Ohio, the injured party may seek compensation for various damages, such as:

  • Medical Expenses: Reimbursement for medical treatments, including past, current, and future expenses related to the injury.
  • Lost Wages and Income: Compensation for the income lost due to the inability to work while recovering from the injury.
  • Pain and Suffering: Damages awarded to account for physical and emotional pain endured as a result of the injury.
  • Loss of Consortium: Compensation provided to a spouse or child for the loss of companionship and support resulting from the injured party's injuries.
  • Punitive Damages: In some injury cases involving intentional misconduct or gross negligence, a court may award punitive damages to punish the at-fault party and to deter others from engaging in similar conduct.

3 Key Differences: Workers' Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims

Understanding the distinctions between a workers' compensation claim and a personal injury claim is necessary for recovering the benefits and compensation you deserve. Here are the three fundamental differences:

  1. Fault Requirement: In a workers' compensation claim, the injured worker does not need to prove fault. They only need to demonstrate that the injury occurred while on the job and within the scope of their employment. Conversely, in a personal injury claim, the injured party must establish fault or negligence on the part of the defendant.
  2. Compensation for Pain and Suffering: Workers' compensation does not provide compensation for pain and suffering. It focuses primarily on medical expenses and wage replacement. On the other hand, a personal injury claim allows the injured party to seek compensation for all damages, including the physical and emotional pain endured by the injured party.
  3. Right to Sue: In exchange for the opportunity to receive workers' compensation benefits in the event of a workplace injury or illness, even if they are at fault for that injury or illness, injured workers in Ohio relinquish their right to sue their employers for damages. In general, workers in Ohio can only sue for damages resulting from a workplace injury under the following circumstances:
    • Their employer lacks workers' compensation insurance.
    • Their employer’s intentional misconduct caused the injury.
    • A third party (someone other than the employer or a co-worker) caused or contributed to the injury. In this case, the injured worker may be entitled to pursue a third-party personal injury claim against the at-fault party and file a workers’ compensation claim.

Other Limitations of Workers' Compensation

While virtually anyone who has been injured due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another can file a personal injury claim, only employees are eligible to file a workers' compensation claim. Workers’ compensation benefits are not available to independent contractors or other workers not classified as employees.

Moreover, to receive workers’ compensation benefits, the injury or illness must have occurred while on the job and within the scope of the injured worker’s employment. To determine if you are eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, consult our knowledgeable workers’ compensation attorneys in Cleveland.

Consult a Cleveland Workers' Compensation Attorney at Nurenberg Paris

Navigating the complexities of a workers' compensation or personal injury claim can be overwhelming, especially when trying to recover from an injury. That is why hiring a qualified personal injury lawyer is crucial.

Our team of knowledgeable attorneys has years of experience handling workers' compensation claims in Cleveland and throughout Ohio. We are dedicated to helping injured workers and others understand their rights and fight for the compensation and medical care they deserve.

At Nurenberg Paris, we advocate for injured workers and ensure they receive the full benefits and compensation they are entitled to. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with the workers’ compensation attorneys that Cleveland workers trust. The consultation is free, and you don't pay us anything unless we secure benefits for you.

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