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Kobal Law

Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Comp Claim in Florida: What’s the Difference?


Many people do not know the difference between filing a workers’ compensation and personal injury claim. If you get injured on the job, then it might seem that you can only file a workers’ comp claim. But did you know that you can also file a personal injury claim under certain circumstances?

In some instances, an injured worker can file both a workers’ comp and personal injury claim. The latter is possible if a third party’s negligence caused the workplace accident that led to injury or disability.

What’s the Difference Between a Workers’ Comp and Personal Injury Claim?

The most critical difference between PI and WC claims is that a personal injury claim is based on fault, while a workers’ compensation claim is not. Thus, in order to hold another individual or entity liable for your injury in a PI case, you must prove their negligence.

In order to obtain workers’ comp benefits, on the other hand, you only need to demonstrate that (a) the injury occurred in the workplace during regular work hours or (b) your injury or illness developed over time due to working conditions.

Fault in Personal Injury Cases

Let’s imagine that your injury occurred due to a slip and fall accident on someone else’s property. Just because you fell does not automatically make the owner at fault for the accident.

When recovering damages for slipping on the property owner’s premises, your Tampa personal injury attorney will have to prove that the owner was in any way negligent or careless. Otherwise, you are not eligible to receive any monetary compensation.

Lack of Fault in Workers’ Compensation Cases

The opposite is true in workers’ comp cases. In order to be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits, no party has to be at fault for causing an employee’s injury.

As an injured worker in Tampa or elsewhere in Florida, you do not need to prove that your employer or co-workers were negligent or in any way responsible for your work-related injury. You may even be eligible for benefits if your own carelessness led to workplace injury.

Personal Injury vs. Workers’ Comp: Difference in Damages

Unlike in personal injury cases, an injured worker is not eligible to receive any benefits for pain and suffering via a workers’ comp claim. When filing a personal injury claim, you can recover all of the damages that you have experienced, including:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Lost earning capacity
  • Future medical expenses
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Permanent impairment

Before Florida enacted its workers’ comp laws, injured workers had only one option to recover damages: suing their employers. If the employer was not at fault in any way, the worker was not entitled to any compensation for his or her work-related injury.

When seeking benefits through workers’ comp, an injured worker is eligible for medical bills, weekly reparation, professional rehabilitation, permanent impairment benefits, and other damages.

Filing a personal injury suit against your employer may be worth it if his or her intentional act caused your injury. Discuss your legal recourse after an on-the-job injury by consulting with our Tampa workers’ compensation lawyer at Kobal Law. Call at 813-873-2440 for a consultation.

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