Workers Compensation Vs Personal Injury Claims Understanding The Difference

By Ben Gobel on March 14, 2024

Photo of a Man with an Injured Hand

Workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are two different legal avenues for individuals injured on the job or due to someone else’s negligence. Knowing the differences between these two ensures you pursue the appropriate recourse for your injury. This article casts light on the differences between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims.

Learn about the eligibility criteria, benefits offered, when to file each type, and how Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C. can help.

What Is Workers’ Compensation?

Workers’ compensation insurance is a safety net for employees who are injured or fall ill due to their jobs. It’s an insurance policy, mandated by states, that employers carry to cover these situations.

Eligibility Criteria

Most full-time and part-time employees are covered, though exceptions may exist for certain occupations or casual laborers. Independent contractors and volunteers may not be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits.

Types of Injuries Covered

Workers’ comp claims cover injuries sustained “in the course and scope” of employment. This includes work accidents, repetitive stress injuries caused by the job, and occupational illnesses like lung disease from exposure to harmful materials.

Benefits Offered by Workers’ Compensation

Workers’ comp offers financial support to help you recover. This can include:

  • Medical bills: Coverage for medical expenses related to your work injury or illness.
  • Lost wages: Partial wage replacement while you’re unable to work due to your condition.
  • Vocational rehabilitation: Assistance retraining for a new job if your injury prevents you from returning to your previous role.
  • Death benefits: Financial support for surviving family members if a work-related injury or illness is fatal.

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims involve seeking compensation for injuries caused by another party’s negligence or intentional actions.

Unlike workers’ compensation, which focuses on workplace injuries regardless of fault, personal injury claims target situations where another party’s negligence caused you harm. This could be a slip and fall on someone else’s property, a car accident due to another driver’s recklessness, or a product malfunction that results in injury.

Types of Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims can arise from various circumstances, including:

  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Premises liability incidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Product liability
  • Defamation

Each of these types of personal injury claims involves different legal considerations and requirements.

Steps Involved in Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Filing a personal injury claim involves several key steps:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Start by seeking immediate medical care to address your injuries and establish a medical record.
  2. Gather Evidence: Collect evidence such as photographs, witness statements, and relevant documentation to support your claim.
  3. Consult an Attorney: Seek legal counsel from a personal injury attorney who can provide guidance and represent your interests in the legal process.
  4. Filing a Claim: With your attorney’s assistance, file a claim against the at-fault party, initiating the legal proceedings.
  5. Negotiation or Litigation: The claim may enter negotiation with the at-fault party’s insurance company. If a settlement cannot be reached, litigation through the courts may be pursued.

The personal injury claim process can be complex and time-consuming. An experienced lawyer is vital to guide you through each step and seek rightful compensation.

When to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim Vs. a Personal Injury Claim

A work-related injury can leave you confused about the path to recovery. Workers’ compensation and personal injury claims offer support, but each has a distinct purpose. Understanding the situations for each claim empowers you to make the right choice.

Circumstances Where Workers’ Compensation Is Applicable

The following are specific situations where workers’ compensation benefits become relevant for safeguarding your rights and well-being.

Work-Related Injuries

Workers’ compensation is designed to cover injuries sustained while performing work-related duties, regardless of fault.

Occupational Illnesses

Workers’ comp also extends to illnesses or medical conditions that develop due to workplace conditions or activities, such as repetitive stress injuries or occupational diseases.

Employer Liability

Workers’ compensation provides benefits without requiring the injured employee to prove employer negligence, thereby offering protection to the employer from direct lawsuits.

Situations Where Personal Injury Claims Are More Suitable

File a personal injury lawsuit for cases involving:

Third-Party Liability

Personal injury claims are suitable when an injury is caused by the negligence of a third party, such as in cases of motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents on someone else’s property, or medical malpractice.

Intentional Harm or Gross Negligence

Personal injury claims can also be pursued in cases of intentional harm or gross negligence, where the at-fault party’s actions were particularly egregious.

In short, workers’ compensation offers guaranteed benefits with a simpler process, while personal injury claims can potentially yield higher compensation but require proving fault and involve a more complex legal process.

Doctor bandaging a patients head

Choosing the right attorney

Securing the right attorney for your workers’ compensation or personal injury claim is crucial.  A skilled lawyer can be the difference between securing the compensation you deserve and facing financial hardship. Here’s what to consider when making your choice:


Seek an attorney with a history of success in cases similar to yours. Their experience translates to a deeper understanding of the legal system and strategies to maximize your claim’s value. Look for testimonials, awards, and positive online reviews to gauge their track record.


Consider an attorney focusing on either workers’ compensation or personal injury law. This focused experience ensures they stay current on legal developments specific to your case.


Choose a lawyer who prioritizes clear communication. They should explain legalese in understandable terms, answer your questions promptly, and keep you informed throughout the process. A good rapport is imperative—you should feel comfortable discussing your situation openly and honestly.


Know the lawyer’s fee structure upfront. Many personal injury lawyers work on contingency, meaning they only get paid if you win. Workers’ compensation claims may have different fee structures. Regardless, ensure you understand all costs associated with their representation.

The Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky Advantage

At Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C., we understand the challenges following an injury. Our team of experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys has a proven track record of success. We work tirelessly to get our clients justice. Contact us today for a free consultation.