Despite modern safety equipment and government regulations, construction sites are still a very dangerous place to work. Construction workers can’t work when they’re injured so these accidents can be extremely problematic on a number of levels. In addition to your lost wages, what about your medical bills? How are you going to pay your mortgage or put food on the table? And what if you’re permanently disabled? There are a number of complicated questions that surround these injuries. If you’ve been injured in a construction accident, you should at least consider talking with a lawyer in order to understand your options.
Worker’s Compensation vs. Personal Injury
Thankfully, worker’s compensation benefits are available in most cases, but most people don’t understand what worker’s comp covers and what it does not. Furthermore, in most cases, filing a claim for worker’s compensation prohibits you from suing your employer for personal injury. As a result, it’s important to understand the difference between a personal injury claim and worker’s compensation and a personal injury lawsuit. We’ve provided the table below to help illustrate the differences between these two types of claims.
Worker’s Compensation Claims
- Your claim can be paid even if your employer is not at fault, no one was at fault, or fault cannot be determined. Example: you are injured by falling equipment. No one knows whether it was dropped, or what caused the accident
- Covers only those injuries suffered while in the performance of your job. In many cases, the injury clearly happened while the victim was doing his or her job. In many other cases, however, this is a critical question. For example, can you receive worker’s compensation for an injury that occurred while on a break and off the job site?
- Pays only two-thirds of your weekly income and reasonable medical expenses resulting from your injury. Does not pay any damages for pain and suffering.
- Covers both one-time injuries, recurring conditions, and injuries that are sustained as a result of accumulated stress.
Example 1: You are injured when your hand is caught in some machinery.
Example 2: You suffer a permanent back injury that tends to lead to periodic muscle spasms.
Example 3: you develop severe tendonitis in your elbows as a result years of operating heavy machinery.
Personal Injury Lawsuit
- You must be able to prove that another party was at fault in causing the accident that led to your injury. If you are injured by falling equipment, you must prove that the accident was caused by your employer’s or someone else’s negligence
- You do not need to prove that the accident occurred while you were performing your job. It doesn’t matter if the accident occurred off the job site.
- Covers any kind of injury you might sustain. Examples: asbestos-related diseases, broken bones, concussions, or stress injuries, if caused by someone else’s negligence.
- Your claim can include any damages you suffered: medical expenses, transportation costs, lost wages or other income, and pain and suffering. Damages for pain and suffering often compensate victims for things like loss of ability to enjoy a favorite hobby, inability to sleep through the night due to recurring pain, the inconvenience of having to use a walker, etc.
Why You Need a Lawyer
As you can see, the difference between these two claims is significant. And again, if you file a worker’s compensation claim, you may have forfeited your right to file a lawsuit for personal injury. As a result, choosing worker’s compensation over personal injury can potentially cost you thousands of dollars. A lawyer can help you decide which case is right for you.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney
Slappey & Sadd has been helping Georgia accident victims since 1992. We don’t charge our clients fees unless we win, so we don’t take cases unless we think we can get you the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been injured on the job and would like a free consultation, contact us at 404-255-6677 or email us via our online contact form.