Consider all the ways you could be injured on the job – repetitive injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome, a co-worker punches you in the face, a piece of steel falls from the forklift as it drives past your workstation…
The possibilities are wide open. Whatever the case… you were pushed…you were punched…you took a fall…and now are broken and bruised.
You know someone’s responsible for covering your medical bills – and it’s not you. But should you file a workers’ comp claim, since your injury happened at work, or a personal injury (PI) claim because the injury resulted from a coworker or a third party on the jobsite?
The two terms can seem interchangeable and confusing, but your SC workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer can help you to determine what kind of claim to file.
The Differences Between Workers’ Comp and PI Cases in SC
The first thing your attorney will do after hearing the facts of your case is to determine which party, if any, is at fault.
With workers’ comp no one is required to be at fault because this type of case has nothing to do with fault. Instead, it has to do with injuries that an employee suffered while on the job; and no one needs to be proven negligent or at fault for those injuries in order for the employee to recover damages – if you are injured on the job, workers’ comp insurance pays.
PI cases do require someone to be at fault. For example, if you slip and fall but it was not caused by someone else’s negligence, you don’t have a PI case. On the other hand, if you slip and fall while you are working on the job, even though it was not due to negligence, workers’ compensation insurance should cover the damages.
Compensation for Damages: PI vs. Workers’ Comp
In a workers’ comp case, you won’t receive compensation for pain and suffering, punitive damages, or other non-economic damages.
However, you are entitled to weekly compensation, permanent impairment benefits, medical bills and vocational rehabilitation.
In a PI case, however, you can demand compensation for pain and suffering and non-economic damages, and the defendant may be forced to pay punitive damages in some cases. Other damages you may be entitled to include:
- Lost wages
- Lost earning ability
- Current and future medical bills
- Expenses related to permanent impairment
- Loss of enjoyment of life
Can I File Both Types of Cases?
In most cases, you must file either a workers’ comp claim or a personal injury lawsuit depending on how and where the injury happened. The law may tell you which one you must file, or, in some cases, you may be able to choose. Some exceptions include:
- You are crew member of a vessel;
- You are an interstate railroad worker; or
- You are involved in a combination case (where the accident or injury resulted because of a third-party unrelated to your job).
If you did have the right to choose between remedies, you lose that right once you receive payment for your workers’ comp case such as weekly compensation and medical coverage.
In deciding which type of claim to file, your attorney will have to answer questions like:
- Who’s liable for the injury?
- Was the injury directly caused by performing work-related tasks?
- Where did the injury happen?
- Was the injury a one-time event or a recurring condition?
SC Personal Injury Lawyer
Your injury lawyer at Coastal Law, LLC will review your case and help you to determine what type of claims to file. We have offices in Myrtle Beach, Conway, Charleston, and Columbia SC.
Call us for a free consultation about your case at (843) 488-5000 or fill out our online contact form to get in touch.