If you are seeking legal representation for a work-related injury, you may wonder about the difference between a personal injury lawyer and a workers’ compensation lawyer. Both kinds of lawyers handle injury claims, right? Yes, but the claims get processed and decided in different legal systems. Fortunately, some lawyers handle both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims for their clients.
A personal injury case involves filing a lawsuit to recover medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering damages (including for emotional distress). Personal injury lawyers file these lawsuits in court, make requests for information and documents from the defendants, negotiate settlements, and take cases to jury trials.
At a personal injury trial, your lawyer will show the jury evidence and testimony to prove that you were injured and that the defendants are responsible. If the jury makes an award of damages in your favor, then you will receive a lump sum payment. Your lawyer’s fees will most likely be paid out of the jury award. Alternatively, your lawyer may negotiate a lump sum settlement of your case. Fees would be paid out of the settlement amount.
In contrast, a workers’ compensation claim involves recovering medical, wage-loss, and vocational rehabilitation benefits for a work-related injury. Workers’ compensation lawyers submit claim petitions to the state, help clients get medical care and vocational rehabilitation services, negotiate settlements, and take cases to hearings before workers’ compensation judges.
Unlike in a personal injury case, there is no question of “fault” for a workplace injury. The questions your lawyer may have to dispute are (1) whether the injury was work-related, and (2) which benefits you can receive as a result. Often hearings turn on issues of medical need for treatment or calculation of wage-loss benefits. If you win at a hearing or your lawyer settles the case, you may receive a lump sum payment. Your lawyer’s fees get paid out of the amount recovered in the case.
When You Have Both Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims
Sometimes, work injuries happen due to the fault of third parties unrelated to employers. These third parties may include reckless or malicious employees, independent contractors, members of the general public, or other companies that provide defective products. You may have both a personal injury and a workers’ compensation case if, for example, a member of the public entered your workplace and hurt you while you were working.
Some lawyers, such as the Osterbauer Law Firm, handle both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases. If you think you have both types of claims, reach out to a lawyer for a consultation today.
Need help getting workers’ compensation for your injury and have a personal injury claim? Joe Osterbauer, Esq. and the Osterbauer Law Firm stand up for injured Minnesota workers’ rights. Joe’s 27 years of workers’ compensation experience, his knowledge of personal injury law, and his team’s speedy service combine to get clients the results they need. To schedule a free consultation, visit Osterbauer Law Firm online or call Joe’s office at (612) 334-3434.