Workers Compensation Vs. Personal Injury: What Is The Difference?

Workers Compensation Vs. Personal Injury: What Is The Difference?

by Micah James — 6 months ago in Review 4 min. read

Finding yourself involved in an accident while simply going about your business on your day job is a frustrating experience in workers compensation vs. personal injury, especially if the incident occurred through no fault of your own. Assuming you suffered some type of injury as a result of the accident, it’s more than reasonable to want to seek out compensation for what you have endured.

When a person is injured on the job there are two general paths to consider: workers compensation insurance or a personal injury lawsuit. Despite offering similar compensation, these two paths are quite distinct. By learning the details of each, along with which is right for a person’s situation, you can determine your next course of action.

What is Workers Compensation Insurance?

For those who have never heard the term before, workers’ compensation insurance is a specialty form of insurance in which employers assume complete liability for all work-related injuries. This compensation is typically required of many businesses, though the extent of the insurance can vary drastically. This insurance doesn’t only cover traditional accidents in the workplace, though, and illness stemming from work performed also tends to fall under the umbrella of workers’ compensation.

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Common Types of Workers’ Compensation

Given that workers’ compensation comes in a number of different types, it’s worth looking at what exactly the common types are. In particular, there are four main types of workers compensation more commonly seen than others:

Medical Treatments

First and foremost, a medical treatment workers compensation policy most often kicks in when an employee has expenses related to doctor’s appointments, hospital visits, medications, rehabilitation, recovery costs, and more associated with their injury. Ongoing care costs also typically fall under the umbrella of medical treatment, but experimental treatment is typically excluded.

Permanent Disability Benefits

In the event an employee’s injury is so bad that they have become permanently disabled and cannot return to work in any capacity, this is the form of workers’ compensation that will kick in. Permanent disability benefits provide employees with compensation on an ongoing basis in order to replace the income they will never be able to have as a result of their disability.

Supplemental Job Displacement Benefits

In some cases, an employee may be injured to the point that they are unable to return to their former role, though they are still able to work. Supplemental job displacement benefits are a unique form of workers’ compensation that pays for costs related to finding new work. Whether it’s receiving new education in order to launch a new career, paying for costs related to the career search, or something similar, supplemental job displacement benefits can help.

Death Benefits

Finally, no family wants to be in the position where they are informed that their loved one has passed away due to an accident that occurred in the workplace, but it unfortunately does happen. Death benefits are another type of workers’ compensation insurance that provides compensation for costs such as funeral expenses and more. There are also ongoing payments for dependents that may continue for a period of time after the person’s death.

What is Personal Injury Law?

On the other hand, finding yourself involved in a workplace accident may require a lawyer’s touch given the situation. Personal injury law will be more applicable in this scenario. This type of law falls under tort law and involves redressing wrongdoing performed to one party by another party via negligence, as opposed to recklessness. Compensation stemming from a personal injury lawsuit comes from the damages that the plaintiff files against the defendant.

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The Foundation of Personal Injury

Providing in court that a personal injury occurred is far more difficult than getting a worker’s compensation claim approved as demonstrating that negligence existed is required. The way to go about this is to prove the following four foundational elements of personal injury:

Duty of Care

First, it must be shown that the defending party had a duty of care to keep the injured party out of harm’s way through reasonable action. Thinking of personal injury on a smaller scale, an example of this could be a driver on the road. All drivers have a duty of care to act in a manner that keeps themselves and other drivers safe on the road, such as choosing to not drive after having a few drinks.

Breach of Duty of Care

After showing that one party had a duty of care to the other party, it must also be shown that there was a breach of the duty of care through negligence. This simply means that the party that caused the injury acted in such a manner that a reasonable person would not have done the same thing. An example of this would be a driver choosing to text behind the wheel rather than focusing on the road.


After showing that there was a clear breach of duty on behalf of the defendant, it must also be shown that the breach has a direct causation with the injuries that the plaintiff suffered. Sticking with the same example, a driver texting behind the wheel and failing to see the pedestrian crossing up ahead, only to swerve and hit them, would be an example.


Finally, the damages that a person files for must align with the injuries that they suffered at the hands of the other party. This damage can include medical costs as well as less tangible costs that workers’ compensation does not cover, such as pain and suffering.

Understand your legal options

Nobody should have to live with the injuries they have suffered as a result of an accident which was not their fault on the job. Depending on the specific details of your situation, one potential path may be better than another. Brush up on the details of what occurred and gather as much evidence as possible if you plan to go down the route of a personal injury lawsuit. There’s nothing wrong with taking the compensation that comes from workers comp insurance but be aware that you may be leaving money on the table by not pursuing legal action.

Micah James

Micah is SEO Manager of The Next Tech. When he is in office then love to his role and apart from this he loves to coffee when he gets free. He loves to play soccer and reading comics.

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