Accidents can happen anywhere at any time. In Florida, 227,998 vehicle crashes resulted in 2,400 deaths and 181,654 injuries in 2011. That same year, 227 workplace fatalities occurred in the state. State and federal law ensures compensation for those injured in a car crash, workplace accident, medical malpractice incident, fall in a public facility or pedestrian accident. However, there are different eligibility guidelines for compensation. Workers’ compensation and personal injury are similar in some aspects, but it is important to understand the differences before filing a claim for either.
When negligence can be proven, a person or entity can be held responsible for an injured person’s expenses. When a person demonstrates a lack of regard for another person’s safety, fails to take responsible action or takes action resulting in someone’s injury, the person acted negligently. In personal injury cases, you must prove that someone’s negligence caused your injury. However, injured employees can receive workers’ compensation benefits regardless of negligence. The trade-off for automatic benefits in workers’ compensation is that the employee cannot sue the employer for injuries.
Pain and suffering
Injured employees cannot recover damages for pain and suffering. In personal injury cases, pain and suffering compensation can be awarded to those harmed by someone’s negligence.
Workers’ compensation requires employees to go to a medical provider designated by the employer or insurance company. For personal injury cases, you do not receive automatic benefits, but you can choose your medical provider. Personal injury claimants must file for reimbursement of their expenses afterward.
Workers recover lost wages automatically through workers’ compensation, but employees only receive a percentage of what they were earning before being injured. For personal injury cases, the claimant must file for reimbursement of lost wages, which can be the full amount.
Trial by jury
A jury never decides the outcome of a workers’ compensation case. However, you can take your personal injury lawsuit to court to be determined by a jury.
Injured employees have two years from the date of the injury to file a workers’ compensation claim. Personal injury claims must be filed within four years of the date of injury.