What is the Difference Between Workers Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

It can be difficult to know exactly what you’re entitled to when you suffer from an injury in the workplace, especially when it may appear that the case falls under multiple categories. For this reason, it’s important to recognise the difference between workers compensation and personal injury. While they may seem similar, there are some critical distinctions that can be made between the two.

Workers Compensation Overview

Workers compensation claims are focused on encouraging employers to provide safe workplaces while supporting employees who suffer from injuries. There are strict criteria to define what is and isn’t covered under workers compensation, but it’s possible to claim a range of physical and psychological injuries. This area of law is mostly concerned with accidentsthat occur at the workplace or cases where employment significantly contributed to an injury. However, there may also be a valid claim in cases involving travel to or from the workplace or when travelling on business.

NSW employers are required to have a policy in this area and must record any incidents or injuries that occur at the workplace. One key aspect of workers compensation is that claims are made under a ‘no-fault’ theory of liability; it is not necessary to prove negligence in order to be awarded damages.

Personal Injury Overview

Personal injury claims are an avenue through individuals can seek damages as a result of medical negligence, workplace injuries and other similar cases. The fact that an accident occurred is not enough to make a successful claim: there must a proof that a party is liable.

As opposed to workers compensation claims, which operate under the ‘no-fault’ system, personal injury claims require proof that the injury occurred as a result of negligence or a breach of duty of care. This type of claim can be made against an employer or even a third party.

Most personal injury claims in NSW need to be lodged within three years of the incident or event, although this can be subject to discoverability criteria. If successful, a variety of damages can be awarded to the individual.

Awarding Damages

Workers compensation and personal injury claims often involve different types of damages. Common damages arising from workers compensation claims include: partial payment of wages for time away from work; compensation for medical and rehabilitation bills; and lump sums for permanent impairment.

Personal injury claims usually involve additional compensation due to proof of negligence. Damages can include compensation for loss of future earning capacity or for pain and suffering as a result of the incident or injury.

Getting Help

Whether you are seeking workers compensation or common law damages, it’s imperative that you get the assistance of an experienced legal team. If you believe you have been injured or involved in a workplace accident as a result of a third party, contact us at PK Simpson for more information and to discuss what options are available to you. If you have sustained injuries while on the job and believe you are entitled to compensation, contact our office today and get the ball rolling by telling us specific details of your case.