Personal Injury Vs. Workman’s Compensation: What Is the Difference?

When an accident happens at work, you may be entitled to workman’s compensation. However, you do not have to accept the compensation and can instead file a personal injury suit. So, what should you know before you choose one or the other?

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Personal Injury Vs. Workman’s Compensation

The major difference between workman’s compensation and personal injury cases is that in workman’s compensation cases, you do not need to prove negligence. The only thing you have to prove is that you got injured at work and that the injury is not your fault. Do note that some companies will pay compensation even when the injury is your fault, but it is quite rare.

On the other hand, you need to prove that the negligent actions of someone else caused the accident when you decide to file a personal injury lawsuit. Proving negligence by yourself is almost impossible and this is why it is a great idea to hire a personal injury attorney once you decide to file a lawsuit.

Workman’s Compensation Denial

Workman’s compensation is meant to protect workers while at work and this is why most companies do not have a problem offering it once you get injured. However, compensation can be denied under specific circumstances such as when you are injured while under the influence or where there was so much negligence on your part that the company cannot ignore it.

Accepting The Workman’s Compensation

Remember that you cannot receive workman’s compensation and then sue for personal injury. The only option you have is to choose between the two.

When you accept workman’s compensation, the damages offered will cover medical bills, pay you a portion of your weekly wages depending on company policy and existing laws, pay for physical therapy and rehabilitation and any prescribed drugs.

Filing a Personal Injury Lawsuit

It is important to remember that once you decide to go with a personal injury lawsuit, you are essentially rolling the dice because the lawsuit can go for or against you. This is why it is so important to have a lawyer represent you in these cases.

You will also need to prove negligence on another party’s part. This can be someone who distracted you, a company that did not provide enough safety protection or anyone else responsible for your injuries.

For injuries caused by defective products or equipment, you can decide to sue the manufacturer. A personal injury lawsuit is also acceptable where the employer refused to offer workman’s compensation and a lawsuit becomes your only option.

Level of Compensation

Companies will usually have a limit on how much they can offer for workman’s compensation. This is the reason why personal injury lawsuits usually offer a lot more. Personal injury cases are usually about holding someone else accountable for your injuries. You need to provide concrete proof about someone else’s negligence to win a personal injury lawsuit.


Choosing between accepting workman’s compensation and filing a personal injury lawsuit is a highly personal decision, but you need to consider everything before choosing either one. Each has its pros and cons, so choose one you know will serve you the best.