An unexpected injury can easily derail the course of a person’s life. Whether the accident that caused the injury took place at work or somewhere else, every injury victim deserves help on their path to the best possible recovery.
That help often comes in the form of financial compensation. How you go about securing that compensation will differ depending on the accident that led to your injuries. If you were injured in a workplace accident or otherwise through the course of your employment, you should pursue workers’ compensation benefits.
A personal injury claim would be most appropriate if you were injured in something like a car accident or slip and fall accident.
It is important to understand the difference between these two claims, as well as how a Lexington workers’ compensation attorney or personal injury lawyer can help you go after the benefits or compensation you deserve.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Most employers in Kentucky are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This insurance coverage provides invaluable benefits to workers who have been injured on the job. Workers’ comp benefits typically cover things like:
- Lost wages – Workers’ compensation should replace 66% of the average weekly salary you earned prior to your injury.
- Medical bills – Benefits for medical care will vary based on your injury and its severity, and cover medical care that is deemed necessary and reasonable. You will not use your own health insurance coverage.
- Disability benefits – Injured workers who are unable to return to work may receive benefits for temporary total disability, permanent partial disability, or permanent total disability. Disability compensation will not exceed your past average earnings.
- Death benefits – Family members may qualify for death and burial benefits if their loved one passed away as a direct result of their work injury, so long as it was within four years from the onset date of the injury.
You may qualify for workers’ compensation benefits if you were injured in a single workplace accident, or if your injuries developed over time due to the nature of your job. Here are just a few of the most common work injuries cited in workers’ comp claims:
- Neck injuries
- Back injuries
- Repetitive motion injuries
- Sprained, strained, or pulled muscles
- Broken bones
- Head injuries
- Respiratory illnesses
- Hearing or vision damage or loss
You must follow precise steps when submitting a workers’ compensation claim. According to §342.185, victims must notify their employers of any injuries in as timely a manner as possible. Most employers have guidelines for reporting work accidents and injuries, so be sure to check your employee handbook, speak with human resources, or otherwise access that information through the proper employment channels. §342.185 also requires victims of workplace injuries to file a workers’ compensation claim within two years, or forfeit their right to compensation.
While this might seem like plenty of time, compiling and providing evidence that your injury is work-related can be time-consuming and tedious. Many claims are initially denied too, requiring an appeal. Whether filing your initial claim or an appeal, a Lexington workers’ comp lawyer should be able to help you compile all the necessary paperwork and documentation.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
Personal injury claims are perhaps most commonly associated with motor vehicle accidents. Other types of claims that fall under the umbrella of personal injury include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective or dangerous products
- Dog bites
A personal injury claim is used to recover compensation when one person or party’s negligent, reckless, or harmful behavior causes another person’s injuries. The claim is filed against the at-fault party’s insurance company, or the at-fault party themselves. Compared with workers’ compensation benefits, compensation is often much broader in a personal injury case and may include compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Cost of future medical care
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma or mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
Kentucky §413.140 states that you only have one year from the date of your accident to file a personal injury claim. The insurance company rarely has victims’ best interests at heart, though. A Lexington car accident attorney can help you calculate how much you are owed, limiting your risk of accepting a lowball offer.
Is There Any Overlap Between Worker’s Compensation and Personal Injury?
There are times in which it is appropriate to pursue both workers’ compensation benefits and a personal injury claim at the same time. This often happens when someone is hurt on the job, and another person or entity was at least partially at fault. An injured worker might choose to file a personal injury claim against:
- A negligent contractor
- The manufacturer of a defective product or tool
- A violent customer
In most cases, you will not be able to sue your employer, though. Even if they played a role in your injuries, providing workers’ compensation coverage shields employers from these types of lawsuits. Successfully navigating a personal injury claim to completion will not affect your ability to recover workers’ compensation benefits, or vice versa. This means you will not have to choose between pursuing a workers’ compensation or a personal injury claim if the situation calls for it.
Getting the Compensation You Deserve
Anyone who has been injured through no fault of their own deserves dignity on their journey to recovery. This can be hard when you are watching medical bills pile up, but you don’t have any income since you are unable to work.
At Golden Law Office, our personal injury attorneys understand just how overwhelming this situation can be and what it takes to secure the best outcome. We also know that an initial denial is not the end of the road for a workers’ compensation claim, and that many appeals are successful with the right approach.
When you contact us for a free evaluation of your case, one of our Lexington workers’ compensation attorneys will discuss the merits of your claim as well as the required steps for moving forward.