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Understanding the Differences between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers offer insight into the differences in claims when it comes to injured workers with a Workers' Compensation claim and a personal injury case. An accident resulting in minor or serious injuries can lead to a variety of different claims and benefits. Attorneys are equipped to handle various types of claims when it comes to accidents that cause acute or chronic illness or injury.

When it comes to personal injury law and Workers’ Compensation claims, here are some of the primary differences:

Burden of Proof

In personal injury claims, the injured person must prove the defendant had an obligation, or “duty,” to act as a reasonable person would in a similar circumstance. If the defendant failed to do so, there was a “breach” of that duty. Furthermore, the plaintiff must demonstrate their injuries were caused by the defendant’s breach of duty. This is called “negligence.”

When it comes to Workers’ Compensation claims, the injured worker, or claimant, must first prove the incident causing their illness or injury happened at work. In some states, injured plaintiffs are not required to prove negligence in an incident. Even if negligence exists, it does not entitle the plaintiff to additional compensation. Also, negligence cannot be used as a defense in a Workers’ Compensation claim.

Available Benefits

For personal injury cases, the plaintiff receives a single one-time award, or settlement, to cover all damages – including financial losses like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. In some cases, the plaintiff may receive an award or settlement for future losses. After both parties agree to a settlement and a judgement is entered in court, the plaintiff cannot pursue additional damages in the future for unexpected injuries or losses.

Workers’ Compensation benefits are a bit more complex. Generally, the claimant receives payment for medical bills related to the work injury and lost wages, which are calculated using a standard formula. The duration of Workers’ Compensation benefits varies for every claimant, depending upon whether they are considered partially disabled and still able to work with restrictions, or permanently disabled. Certain injuries like amputations or loss of the use of a body part may result in additional benefits for a “specific loss.” Workers’ Compensation does not offer benefits for pain and suffering.


Plaintiffs initiate a personal injury lawsuit by filing a complaint with the court. Attorneys for both parties complete the discovery process before either an agreement is made, or the case moves on to a trial where a judge or jury decides the outcome.

Injured workers file a petition with the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. From there, a judge establishes a schedule for multiple hearings, where the evidence is presented and reviewed. After the evidence has been submitted, and each Workers’ Compensation lawyer has submitted a written brief summarizing their claim, a decision is made. It may take several months after the final hearing to receive a decision about benefits.

Workers’ Compensation cases may involve follow-up petitions on both sides to alter, continue, or stop benefits as well.

Delaware Workers’ Compensation Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Injured Workers Receive the Benefits they Deserve

When a job-related illness or injury prevents you from working, you may understandably be worried about how you are going to provide for your family. Delaware Workers’ Compensation lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC want you to know that you may be eligible for Workers’ Compensation benefits while you are unable to work. Call 302-888-1221 today or complete our online contact form. From our offices in Wilmington and Philadelphia we represent injured workers in Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.