Workers’ Comp vs. Personal Injury Claims Blog

By: Shulman & Hill

If you’ve been injured at work, you can generally pursue a workers’ compensation claim to cover your medical expenses and some of your lost wages. However, you may be able to pursue a personal injury lawsuit against parties responsible for your injury other than your employer. In some cases, you can pursue both types of claims.

While both types of claims provide compensation for injuries, there are key differences between workers’ compensation vs. personal injury claims. They have different requirements and provide distinct benefits.

At Shulman & Hill, we have experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyers who can analyze your situation to determine the best path to obtain the compensation you deserve—whether through a workers’ compensation claim, personal injury lawsuit, or both.

Differences of Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system that provides benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. New York law requires most employers to carry workers’ compensation insurance. You generally cannot sue your employer for work injuries if workers’ compensation insurance covers you. Workers’ compensation is the exclusive avenue for relief from your employer.

However, personal injury claims are available for relief against a non-employer party responsible for your injury. In some cases, you can even pursue both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim, depending on the circumstances of your injury.

One of the primary differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury is the scope of the claims. Workers’ compensation specifically covers injuries or illnesses arising within the course of employment. Personal injury claims have a broader scope, covering any injury caused by another party’s negligence, whether at work, in a car accident, or on someone else’s property.

Another key difference is the role of fault. Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, meaning you can receive benefits regardless of who was at fault for your work-related injury. In contrast, personal injury claims require proof that another party’s negligence caused your injury.

Additionally, the types of compensation available differ between these two claims. Workers’ compensation primarily covers medical expenses, a portion of lost wages, and disability benefits. Personal injury claims allow victims to recover a wider range of damages, including non-economic losses such as pain and suffering.

Here is a summary of the key differences:

Workers' Compensation Personal Injury
No-fault system Requires proving negligence
Covers work-related injuries Broader scope of injuries covered
Limited types of benefits Allows non-economic damages
Handled through insurance and the workers' compensation system May require litigation in court
Shorter deadlines to file a claim Longer statute of limitations

Statute of Limitations for Workers' Compensation vs. Personal Injury Claims

The statute of limitations sets the deadline for filing a claim. For workers’ compensation claims in New York, you generally have two years from the date of injury or illness to file a claim. Failing to meet this deadline could result in losing your right to benefits. You must notify your employer within 30 days of the injury.

Personal injury lawsuits in New York have a longer statute of limitations. In most cases, you have three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit.

What Type of Compensation Is Available for Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

Workers’ compensation benefits in New York include the following:

  • Coverage for all reasonable and necessary medical treatment
  • Temporary disability benefits of two-thirds of your average weekly wage, up to a state maximum
  • Permanent disability benefits if you suffer a lasting impairment
  • Supplemental benefits for severe injuries

In a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for a broader range of damages, including the following:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost wages and reduced earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Loss of enjoyment of life

The compensation available in a personal injury case depends on factors like the severity of your injuries, the strength of evidence of negligence, and the available insurance coverage or assets of the at-fault party.

Can I File Both a Workers' Compensation Claim and a Personal Injury Claim for the Same Injury In New York?

Yes, in some situations, you can have both a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim for the same work-related injury. This is known as a third-party claim. It occurs when your injury was caused by someone other than your employer or a coworker, such as a negligent driver who hits you while you’re driving for work.

In these cases, you would file a workers’ compensation claim to get benefits from your employer’s insurance and a separate personal injury lawsuit against the third party. However, navigating both claims can be complex. While it is possible to receive workers’ compensation and a personal injury settlement, it’s crucial to work with a law firm like Shulman & Hill, which has extensive experience in both areas of law, to ensure you receive compensation from all available sources.

Your workers’ compensation benefits may be reduced to account for the personal injury recovery to prevent double dipping. An experienced attorney can coordinate these claims to minimize offset and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Important Things To Remember When Filing a Claim

No matter what type of claim you’re pursuing, there are a few important things to remember. First, your immigration status does not prevent you from filing a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim in New York. Even if you’re undocumented, you have the right to seek compensation for work-related injuries.

Second, your employer cannot retaliate against you for filing a workers’ compensation claim. It’s illegal for them to fire you, demote you, or take other adverse actions because you pursued benefits for a work injury. If your employer does retaliate, you may have a separate claim against them.

Also, you may wonder if filing a personal injury claim can affect your workers’ compensation claim. It can. While a personal injury claim can provide additional compensation, it can also impact your workers’ compensation case. The workers’ compensation insurance carrier will likely seek reimbursement for the benefits they paid from your personal injury settlement. An experienced attorney can help you navigate this process and protect your interests.

At Shulman & Hill, we’re here to answer any questions you have regarding your accident claim. We have deep experience and a proven track record of success with workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We’ve recovered millions of dollars for injured workers, including a $2.5 million settlement for a construction worker who fell from a scaffold and a $1.1 million settlement for a union worker injured in a work-related motor vehicle accident.

Shulman & Hill Is the Premier Law Firm for New York's Workers

With decades of experience fighting for injured workers, Shulman & Hill is uniquely positioned to handle even the most complex cases involving both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of both systems and can seamlessly coordinate these claims to fight for your fair compensation.

At Shulman & Hill, we’re committed to providing personalized attention and vigorous representation to every client. We understand the challenges injured workers face, and we’ll be with you every step of the way. Our staff is multilingual, with many fluent in Spanish, so we can effectively serve the diverse New York community.

Our firm’s roots are in workers’ compensation law. We’ve seen firsthand how workplace injuries can upend someone’s life, and we’re passionate about helping workers get the benefits they need to recover and support their families.

If you’ve been injured at work, don’t try to navigate this complex process alone. Turn to the experienced New York workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys at Shulman & Hill. We offer free consultations and have locations in every New York borough, so we are never too far away to help with your New York City workers’ compensation claim.

We’re here to fight for your rights and help you secure the bright future you deserve. Call us today at 212-221-1000 or contact us online.

Contact our Team for your Free Case Consultation

At Shulman & Hill, our personal injury attorneys have won more than $500 million for injured clients throughout the years. This includes pain and suffering damages that compensate them for their intangible losses, as well as economic damages such as medical bills and lost income.

As New York’s premier personal injury law firm, we serve clients in New York City, on Long Island, and statewide. We pride ourselves on handling cases no matter the difficulty or complexity.

Contact us using our online form or by dialing (866) 806-6754. We offer free initial case consultations and will assess your legal options based on your case facts. We are here to help you pursue fair compensation based on the expenses and losses you suffered, including any non-economic damages.

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