Is Negligence Part of a Workers’ Compensation Claim?


shutterstock_562328170Our legal system is a complex and tricky thing to navigate. Everyone knows that when they get hurt and it’s not their fault, there are statutes in place to protect them. These statutes allow them – as the victim – to seek compensation but for most the knowledge stops there. It can be very confusing when you hear words thrown around like “negligence,” “liability,” “personal injury” and “workers’ compensation” without a working knowledge of their meanings.

Many people mistakenly believe, for example, that there is a direct relationship between negligence and workers’ compensation. The truth is far more complex. Workers’ compensation claims are not like personal injury cases. Learning the relationships between personal injury claims, negligence and workers’ compensation claims, and role an attorney plays in your case are vital.

Fault, Negligence and Workers’ Comp or Injury Cases

The big difference between a personal injury case and a workers’ compensation claim is that, in a personal injury claim, fault and negligence are central to the case. You must prove that someone else was responsible for your injury. For example, you would have a case if you slipped and fell because a property owner knew about a dangerous set of stairs but failed to address the problem.

In a workers’ compensation claim, no such requirement exists. You do not have to prove that your boss or workplace was negligent in your injury. If you are hurt in the course of your job, you’re generally entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. There is no relationship between the two types of cases.

What Damages Can I Collect?

Another significant difference between a workers’ compensation claim and other types of injury case is that you are more limited in the types of damages you can collect. In a work-related injury you are generally entitled to payments for your medical bills, a percentage of lost wages, and a permanent partial disability benefit. In other kinds of injury cases you may be entitled to much more – including pain and suffering, loss of future potential and damaged relationships to mention a few.

Can I Sue My Employer?

Many people wonder if they can sue their employer under personal injury statutes where negligence is involved. Under normal circumstances, the answer, unfortunately, is “no.” There may be situations where you can sue a third party who caused your injury. An attorney needs to exam the facts of each situation to determine whether there might be a third party personal injury claim.

The Role of a Workers’ Compensation Attorney

Any time you’re injured on the job (or in any situation), you should seek the services of a qualified attorney to help with your case. Because injury laws are specific, complex, and often regionally-specific, it can be confusing to know what your next step should be and where to go. In addition, workers’ compensation claims can often be refused the first time out. Without an attorney, the refusal can seem like the end of the road.

The truth is, it’s possible and common to challenge a workers’ compensation refusal, but it requires expert knowledge of the law and how it works. That’s where your trusted Georgia workers’ compensation attorney comes into play. If you’ve been injured on the job in South Georgia and need the help of a Georgia workers’ compensation attorney, call Farrar, Hennesy & Tanner for a consultation today at 844-FHT-HELP.

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