If you are hurt while at work, you may have multiple legal options available to you to pursue monetary compensation for injuries suffered — a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. While there are some similarities, these legal options are significantly different from one another. For this reason, working with an experienced and skilled Las Vegas personal injury attorney will help you determine which is the best route to pursue and maximize your chances of recovering monetary compensation for harm suffered.
Workers’ Compensation Explained
Workers’ compensation is an insurance scheme that is designed to compensate workers who are hurt on the job. Nevada, like other states across the nation, requires employers with one or more employees to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage. Under this insurance program, injured employees are able to make a claim for workers’ compensation for lost wages and medical treatment due to a work-related injury. An injured worker may be entitled to several benefits including payments for:
- Medical expenses;
- Lost wages;
- Vocational rehabilitation;
- Permanent partial disability (PPT); or
- Permanent total disability (PTT).
Notably, and unlike personal injury claims, an injured employee is not required to show fault when seeking workers’ compensation benefits. Moreover, it makes no difference if the employer, employee, or a third party was to blame for the injury.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Explained
A personal injury lawsuit, on the other hand, is a legal action that is filed in civil court seeking monetary compensation for an injury caused by another’s negligent acts. A personal injury lawsuit may be settled prior to trial or tried in front of a jury. A personal injury plaintiff may recover the following damages, if successful:
- Lost wages;
- Medical expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of companionship; and
- Emotional distress.
Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, proving negligence on the part of the at-fault party is crucial to the success of a personal injury lawsuit. Proving the defendant’s fault is done by a skilled attorney who works hard to collect the needed evidence to present during trial to a jury.
There are also several procedural differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury lawsuit. Specifically:
A Nevada workers’ compensation claim starts when the injured worker notifies his or her employer of the on-the-job injury. The employer then provides the injured employee with the required forms to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. In addition to providing the completed paperwork back to the employer, the injured worker must see a healthcare provider within a certain time frame and return more paperwork after first receiving treatment. The employer then reviews the claim and makes a decision to approve or deny workers’ compensation benefits. An injured worker can appeal a denied claim within a certain time.
A Nevada personal injury lawsuit must be filed in civil court. The injured party will serve the at-fault party (or defendant) with a lawsuit. The defendant will then have the opportunity to file his or her own documents with the court. In preparation for trial, records may be requested and depositions may be conducted in order to gather evidence. The case may settle privately prior to going to court or it may be decided after trial.
Contact Our AttorneysIf you or someone you know has been hurt in a Nevada accident, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at H&P Law. Our skilled attorneys will investigate the facts and seek the monetary compensation you deserve. Contact us at our Las Vegas or Henderson office to speak with one of our attorneys.