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Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

Hurt on the job? Were you involved in a car accident? Individuals injured in the workplace often ask if they should pursue compensation for their injuries through a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit.

Knowing and understanding the difference between these two types of claims makes a difference when choosing the right lawyer to represent you. Not only are there two provisions that differentiate between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims, but they also differ in the types of compensation you are eligible to receive.

Our quick primer on the differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims will help you decide which type of suit is best for you.

What Are the Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

Two key provisions separate workers’ compensation claims and personal injury cases: fault requirements and the available compensation types.

Personal injury cases require you to prove fault, whereas responsibility is irrelevant to workers’ compensation claims. Since you don’t need to provide evidence of fault in a workers’ compensation claim, you will receive compensation for damages faster, but the amount is limited to specific areas.

No-Fault Workers’ Compensation Claims

Fault means “negligent or intentional failure to act reasonably or according to law or duty…an improper act or omission causing injury to another and arising from ignorance, carelessness, or negligence.” You may have heard of “no-fault divorce” or the term concerning car accidents.

In Illinois, with few exceptions, an employee injured in the scope of employment is automatically entitled to specified workers’ compensation benefits. No fault for the injury needs to be established.

The injured employee does not need to prove or demonstrate that the employer, work conditions, equipment, or another employee caused the injury. Even if the damage was caused by the negligence or incorrect actions of the employee, the injured individual is entitled to workers’ compensation benefits.

Fault Established in Personal Injury Cases

The victim must prove that someone’s negligence caused the injury to recover damages for a personal injury in Illinois. The victim (and their attorney) needs to provide evidence that the other party’s negligence created the conditions that caused the accident and any injuries.

For example, in an auto accident, you can only recover damages from the other driver if the other driver is at fault (or to blame).

In an accident, a victim only recovers damages if they (and their lawyer) prove that it was the negligence of another party or parties that caused their injury.

Personal Injury cases are complex because they can involve multiple responsible parties and a range of compensation.

Different Types of Compensation

Those entitled to workers’ compensation benefits are not permitted to receive benefits for pain and suffering in Illinois.

However, they receive weekly compensation while away from work, payment of medical bills, vocational rehabilitation, and, where necessary, permanent impairment benefits. 

By eliminating any claim for pain and suffering and restricting injured employees from suing their employer and co-workers, Illinois workers’ compensation laws create a straightforward process where the injured worker receives weekly compensation and money to cover medical bills.

For personal injury claims, the victim is entitled to recover all damages suffered – lost earnings, medical expenses, lost earning capacity, future medical expenses, pain and suffering, permanent impairment, and loss of enjoyment of life, among other things.

These different types of compensation result in varied returns as personal injury claims tend to reward more money than workers’ compensation, but it is much harder to prove in court.

Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

As an attorney, every day, I fight for those injured in the workplace and those injured due to the negligence of others.

The Attorneys at Friend, Levinson & Turner Law are knowledgeable and apply a disciplined approach to gain a comprehensive perspective on the facts, issues, and injuries experienced by victims.

Our goal is to make the legal process as stress-free as possible. We focus on recovering compensation for you – while you concentrate on your physical and emotional recovery.

If you or a loved one is injured at work or in an accident, please call my office at 312-346-8465 or contact us here.

author avatar
William Turner
William J. Turner

William Turner has represented hundreds of working men and women who have been victims of the negligence of others – gaining equitable compensation for the medical expenses and pain and suffering for his clients. He concentrates his practice in the trial of complex personal injury cases, including car and truck accidents, construction mishaps, medical malpractice, dog and animal attacks, nursing home abuse, and slip-and-falls. Additionally, he offers niche counsel and advocacy for workers who are injured on a job.

William has obtained judgements from juries in approximately 150 cases and has secured fair and comprehensive settlements in even more over his career. William Turner has dedicated his professional life to fighting for the rights of those who are injured as a result of the negligent acts of others.

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