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Vermont Workers’ Compensation Lawyer > Blog > Workers Compensation > What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?

What Is the Difference Between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims?


After an employee suffers an injury in the workplace, they may wonder if they should file a workers’ compensation or personal injury claim. It can be challenging to understand the difference between the two. It can be difficult to determine which claim you should file. Although both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims involve injuries, there are key differences between these two claims.

The two major factors that separate workers’ compensation and personal injury claims are fault requirement and available compensation. In a workers’ compensation claim, you are not required to prove fault to recover benefits. On the other hand, in a personal injury claim, you must prove fault to recover compensation. Because workers’ compensation is a no-fault system, injured employees usually receive compensation faster. However, workers’ compensation benefits are limited. You can recover certain types of benefits in a personal injury claim that you cannot recover in a workers’ compensation claim. Read on to learn more.

Fault vs No-Fault

In Vermont, with few exceptions, a worker who suffers an injury while on the job is automatically entitled to workers’ compensation benefits. Injured employees do not have to prove that their employer, colleague, or work conditions caused their injury. In a workers’ compensation case, the fact that the employee suffered an injury in the scope of employment is enough. You are eligible for workers ‘ compensation benefits even if you did something that caused your injury.

On the other hand, in a personal injury case, you must prove that someone’s negligence caused your injury. Negligence is when someone fails to behave with a level of care that another reasonable individual in the same situation would have exercised. For example, in a car accident case, you can only recover damages if you prove that the other driver’s negligence caused your accident and injuries.

You may wonder, “If my employer is to blame for my work injury can I file a personal injury claim against them?” So, can you? If your employer’s negligence caused your work injury, you cannot file a lawsuit against them if they have workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation eliminates your ability to file a lawsuit against your employer. Workers’ compensation is considered an “exclusive remedy” for work-related injuries. Workers’ compensation provides injured employees with coverage for medical expenses, lost wages, and other injury-related expenses and, in turn, gives employers immunity from lawsuits.

Different Damages for Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

The Vermont workers’ compensation system does not cover pain and suffering. Pain and suffering is the physical and emotional pain you experience after sustaining an injury. However, with workers’ compensation, you promptly receive weekly compensation while you are out of work, payment of medical expenses, and the other workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.

For personal injury cases, claimants are entitled to compensation for pain and suffering and all other damages suffered. So generally, in a personal injury claim, you can recover more compensation. However, with a personal injury case, you must wait until the case is resolved to receive damages. In a workers’ compensation claim, you may be eligible to receive benefits immediately.

Contact a Vermont Workers’ Compensation Attorney

If you have suffered a work-related injury and need help determining how to proceed, contact our skilled Vermont workers’ compensation attorney at Sluka Law PLC.

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