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Workers’ Comp vs. Personal Injury Lawsuits

By Norman Younker on September 25, 2013


Salt Lake City Workers’ Comp LawyerIf you have been injured on the job and can no longer perform your designated job duties as a result, you are most likely entitled to receive workers’ compensation benefits. However, you may also be permitted to collected damages from a third party or, under certain circumstances, from your employer through the filing of a personal injury claim. If you are unsure as to the best course of action to take in your case, Norman J. Younker and the personal injury lawyers of Younker Hyde Macfarlane, PLLC can evaluate your situation and advise you accordingly.

It is important to note that workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims are fundamentally different from one another and, in many cases, are mutually exclusive. In the vast majority of cases, when employees file a workers’ compensation claim, they forfeit the right to pursue legal action against their employers. However, there may still be grounds to file personal injury claims against another party; for example, if an employee is injured by a defective product on the job, it may be possible to file a product liability lawsuit against the designer or manufacturer of that product while still collecting workers’ compensation.

What is certain, however, is that the workers’ compensation process can be complicated and challenging, whether or not filing a personal injury claim is also possible or advisable. Salt Lake City workers’ comp lawyer Norman J. Younker would be pleased to review your case and inform you of your legal rights and options if you or a member of your family has been injured on the job, or if someone you love has tragically been killed. Simply contact our personal injury attorneys today to arrange for your case evaluation.

Workers’ Compensation Claims

In most cases, when employees are injured on the job, they must file a workers’ compensation claim to obtain compensation for the losses and expenses related to their injuries. In the state of Utah, employers are permitted to choose the doctor who evaluates injuries to employees; however, employees are then allowed to visit one doctor of their choice if there is any need for a second opinion. The types of damages an employee is able to receive through a workers’ compensation claim are limited; compensation will not be awarded for pain and suffering or mental anguish, for example.

If your legitimate workers’ compensation claim has been denied, or if you feel as though you were awarded an amount that is unreasonably low, workers’ compensation attorney Norman J. Younker can help you obtain the full measure of compensation to which you are entitled. He can also determine whether you have a viable personal injury claim against a third party, or if the circumstances exist that might allow you to file a personal injury claim against your employer.

Personal Injury Claims

Personal injury claims differ substantially from workers’ compensation claims in many ways. While employees are generally able to obtain workers’ compensation benefits regardless of fault (absent any fraud, of course), the success of any personal injury claim hinges on an attorney’s ability to prove negligence on the part of the party or parties responsible for an accident. For example, if an employee is driving a company vehicle and is injured in an accident caused by another motorist, that employee can file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver. The plaintiff’s attorney must be able to present evidence proving that the other driver did, indeed, behave negligently and is therefore financially liable for the losses and expenses sustained by the injured employee as a result.

Unlike workers’ compensation claims, personal injury claims may result in compensation for pain and suffering and mental anguish; in cases of egregious or extreme negligence, the injured employee may even be awarded punitive damages, intended solely to punish the defendant for his or her wrongdoing.

For further information about workers’ compensation versus personal injury claims, please call or email Norman J. Younker and our personal injury team today.

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