Do You Have a Workers’ Comp or Personal Injury Case?
If you’ve been injured, you may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Unfortunately, getting the money you need after an accident isn’t always easy. Depending on your accident and the nature of your injuries, you could be fighting an uphill battle with the insurance company. To make matters even worse, where you are injured could have a significant impact on what type of claim you file and what types of damages you are able to seek compensation for.
When you are injured by another person’s negligence, you are typically eligible to file a personal injury claim. However, if you are injured while in the course of employment, you may only be eligible to file a workers’ compensation claim. There are benefits and disadvantages to each, so it is important that you retain the services of an experienced and skilled Colorado injury lawyer as soon as possible.
At McDivitt Law Firm, our Colorado injury lawyers can help answer all of your questions and review all of your legal options. We know that every case is unique. We take the time to listen to our clients and address their concerns. Then we work to build a case that is designed to obtain maximum compensation for our clients.
Basic Requirements for a Personal Injury Case
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you may be struggling to put your life back together again. If your accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be frustrated and angry that you’re suffering because of their recklessness. In these cases, the law is on your side. Injured accident victims are able to bring a civil lawsuit against the responsible party in an effort to recovery money for their injuries and other losses.
In order to file a personal injury claim, you must meet three specific criteria:
- You suffered personal injury
- Your injuries were caused by the negligence of another person or entity
- You have recoverable damages
The key to winning your personal injury case is establishing liability. This means that you must prove that another person was responsible for your accident and your injuries. Your lawyer will need to speak to medical experts, review police records, and conduct an independent investigation to determine who is to blame for your accident and injuries. Once the negligent parties are established, your attorney will be able to file the necessary claims with their insurance companies to ensure that you receive the money you need to recover.
Do I Have a Workers’ Compensation Case?
While struggling to take care of your medical needs, you’re also trying to figure out how to financially deal with everything and care for yourself, and possibly your family. You may even be frustrated with your employer if your employer’s negligent actions caused your injuries.
So, what can you do? Often when a person’s negligent actions have harmed another, the injured party may think about suing that person. However, that may not always be your best option, particularly in the case of an on-the-job injury.
What is on-the-job injury?
In fact, in Colorado you are unable to sue your employer for any negligent actions that resulted in your workplace injury or illness. The Workers’ Compensation Act has set up a system that allows for employees to receive compensation, but even at common law, it is presumed that the employer assumed liability for any injury or illness an employee had due to their work regardless of fault. Therefore, in cases where there is an employer-employee relationship, an employer is immune from common-law suits regarding liability. Thus, in Colorado, Workers’ Compensation benefits are an injured worker’s exclusive remedy for compensation.
A workers’ compensation claim is not the same as a lawsuit. In a workers’ comp claim, you are not suing your employer; in fact, you are not suing anyone. By proceeding with a workers’ comp case you are merely filing a claim for benefits that you are entitled to by law.
Difference Between Workers’ Compensation & Personal Injury Claims
There are major differences between a workers’ compensation claim and a personal injury claim. Most notably, workers’ compensation claims can only be filed against your employer and you must have been “on the job” at the time of the accident. Personal injury claims, however, can be filed against any negligent party – from a manufacturer to another driver.
Another main difference between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims is that victims who file personal injury claim must prove negligence in order to collect compensation. Injured workers, however, do not have to prove that their employer was negligent in order to file a claim. Even if the injured worker contributed to or even caused the accident, they are still typically entitled to collect workers’ compensation benefits. In contrast, injured accident victims must prove that the other party was liable for their injuries before they can collect the money they need. In addition, if you are partly to blame for the accident, your damages will be reduced in proportion to your share of fault.
Collecting compensation is another difference between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims. In personal injury claims, accident victims are allowed to seek money to pay for all of the damages you’ve suffered, including medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages. In a worker’s compensation claim, injured workers are only allowed to receive benefits to offset their medical expenses and 66 ⅔ of their average weekly wage. If there is permanent impairment, they can seek disability benefits or vocational rehabilitation.
Third Party Lawsuits
There are situations where a third party could be sued for negligence if you are injured on the job. However, even these situations can be confusing. For instance, a party may appear to be a third party, but for purposes of workers’ compensation may be a statutory employer. However, there are times when a third party is responsible for your workplace injury. For example, you may be injured on a construction job by a negligent subcontractor. Even though you were injured at work, your employer may not be responsible for those injuries. Instead, you may be able to file a third-party lawsuit against the negligent subcontractor.
Seek the advice of an experienced personal injury or workers’ compensation attorney to assist in matters regarding third party liability. You may be able to receive compensation for your injuries from a third party and receive workers’ compensation benefits. Or in some cases, you may only be able to receive workers’ compensation.
We’re There When You Need Us
From the moment you are injured, your life may be turned upside down. Whether your injured on the road or at your job, you need an experienced and skilled Colorado injury attorney on your side. At McDivitt Law Firm, attorneys know that injured victims need money now. That’s why we work tirelessly to expedite claims quickly for our clients.
With offices in Downtown Colorado Springs, North Colorado Springs, Denver, Aurora, and Pueblo, our attorneys are ready to assist you quickly so that you can obtain the money or the benefits you are entitled to.Back to the Blog