Workers’ Compensation versus Personal Injury Lawsuits: What is the Difference?

If you experience a workplace injury, you likely have two options available to you in order to seek monetary compensation for harm suffered — a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. It is important to understand that these legal options are significantly different from each other. A skilled Las Vegas personal injury lawyer can help you determine which of the two options is best for your specific circumstances so that you can maximize your chances of successfully recuperating monetary compensation for lost wages, medical bills, as well as pain and suffering. 

Workers’ Compensation Explained

Workers’ compensation is a state mandated insurance program whose purpose is to compensate workers who are injured on the job in the state. Employers in Nevada with more than one employee are required to purchase workers’ compensation insurance coverage. This coverage allows an injured employee to make a claim seeking monetary benefits for lost wages and medical treatment from work-related injuries. It is important to know that these types of claims do not require the victim to prove fault. Benefits are payable if the employer, a third party, or even the employee was at fault for the accident.

A workers’ compensation victim may be entitled to the following benefits:

  • Lost past and future wages;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Vocational rehabilitation;
  • Permanent partial disability;
  • Permanent total disability.

Personal Injury Lawsuits Explained

A personal injury lawsuit  is a civil action that is filed in court and the purpose of the claim is to seek monetary compensation for harm suffered due to another’s negligent acts. The matter may be settled prior to proceeding to a trial or a jury may decide the amount of compensation due to the plaintiff, if any. Unlike a workers’ compensation claim, personal injury lawsuits require that the victim prove the negligent party was at-fault for the accident and resulting harm in order to be successful. Establishing fault will require obtaining the necessary evidence to present to a jury during trial.

A personal injury victim may recover the following monetary compensation, referred to as damages:

  • Lost past and future wages;
  • Medical expenses;
  • Pain and suffering;
  • Emotional distress; and
  • Loss of companionship.

Differences Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury

There are several procedural differences regarding how you file a workers’ compensation claim versus a personal injury lawsuit. Below are the details regarding these claims below:

  • Workers’ Compensation Claims: in Nevada, an injured worker must notify his or her employer that an on-the-job injury has occurred. The employer will then provide the appropriate forms needed in order to initiate a workers’ compensation claim. These forms may include a Notice of Injury or Occupational Disease, which must be completed and returned to the employer within a week of the injury. You will need to see a healthcare provider after the accident and provide the doctor with a form, known as Employees Compensation Report of Initial Treatment. This completed form must be returned to your employer within 90 days of your initial doctor’s visit and evaluation. 
  • Personal Injury Lawsuit: you must file a personal injury lawsuit in the appropriate Nevada court. The plaintiff will serve the defendant, who will have the chance to file his or her own documents with the court. The discovery process, which includes document requests and depositions, will start in preparation for trial. The case may be tried before a jury or settle privately before the trial occurs.

Contact Our Las Vegas Lawyers

If you were hurt in an accident in Nevada, contact the Las Vegas attorneys at H&P Law. Our lawyers can help explain the difference between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. We will also evaluate your case to determine which legal option is best. Contact us today for your initial case evaluation.

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