Workers' Compensation & Personal Injury Claims: Can I File Both?


If you were injured at the workplace or while performing job duties, you might be wondering if you should file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury lawsuit. In most cases, you are only eligible to recover workers’ comp benefits if your employer, your coworker, or even your own actions caused your workplace injury.

However, if your injury was caused by a third party, which is an individual or business entity who isn’t part of your company, you may file a separate personal injury lawsuit against this party. For instance, if you are out running an errand for your employer and you are struck by another vehicle while driving, you may recover workers’ comp benefits from your employer and recover monetary damages from the personal injury lawsuit against the negligent driver.

If you were injured by defective machinery or an inherently dangerous piece of equipment, you may file a personal injury lawsuit against the manufacturer of the machine or equipment. If you become injured or fall ill after being exposed to a toxic chemical, you may sue the manufacturer of the substance and even manufacturers of ineffective safety equipment.

Additionally, there are some instances where you can file a personal injury lawsuit against your employer, even though you relinquish the right to do so if you are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. If your employer intentionally caused your injury, rather than acted in a negligent manner, you may file for both workers’ compensation benefits and personal injury damages. Also, if your employer carries insufficient workers’ compensation, or not whatsoever, you can recover damages from a personal injury lawsuit.

At the Law Offices of Wax & Wax, our Glendale workers’ compensation attorneys recommend you pursue both types of awards if you are eligible to do so since you are able to recover more damages in a personal injury lawsuit. For instance, workers’ comp benefits consist of past and future medical expenses, lost wages up to a specific amount, permanent disability benefits, and vocational training, while a personal injury settlement also includes noneconomic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. Noneconomic damages are not available through a workers’ compensation claim.

For more information about your workplace injury, contact us and schedule a free consultation today.

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