The Differences Between Personal Injury And Workers Compensation Law

The differences between personal injury and workers compensation law

For those that have sustained injury, it is important to know the legal rights one may pursue for compensation. Not every injury though leads to a settlement. If the injury does arise out of a personal injury or workers compensation event then it may be possible to bring a case.  But understanding the differences between these similar, but very different, areas of law is crucial for Boston accident victims.  Here are some of them.

Personal Injury 

Personal injury law encompasses many areas of law.  Each state has slight statutory differences, but for the most part, personal injury law is the same in each state. This area of law applies to negligently caused motor vehicle accidents, slips and falls, dog bites, and all other types of accident cases that produce injury.

These cases seek to obtain financial compensation for all damages that were caused by the accident.  Damages may include medical bills, lost wages, loss of earning capacity, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.

These cases begin with a claim being filed, and if a settlement cannot be reached, then a lawsuit will be filed.

These cases are filed in district court, superior court, or federal court.  Generally, the statute of limitations for these Massachusetts personal injury cases is three years from the date of injury.

Boston personal injury lawyers handle these cases on a contingency fee basis.  That means they only get paid if the case settles.  The typical fee is generally 33.3%.

Workers Compensation 

Massachusetts workers compensation law operates differently.  Like with personal injury, these cases result from accidents.  However, workers comp cases do not require a showing of negligence.  All that needs to be shown is that an injury arose out and in the course and scope of employmen in order for the injury to be compensable.

Unlike with personal injury, the injured party cannot bring a lawsuit.  That is because all the injured employee can do is file a claim at the Department of Industrial Accidents in lieu of filing a lawsuit for their injuries.

If the injured worker was injured at work, and a third-party is responsible for negligently causing the accident, then a lawsuit can be filed against that person or company.

There is no pain and suffering a available with workers compensation cases, unlike with personal injury cases. Disputes at the DIA are heard by judges only.  There are no juries at this court.

Like with personal injury, these cases are handled on a contingency fee basis.  Workers comp legal fees are set by statute.  The legal fee on workers comp cases is 15% or 20%, depending on the terms of the settlement.