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Understanding the Differences Between Workers’ Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Claims in Georgia

One accident can result in a number of claims and potential benefits. For example, as as one news source explains, if a person gets into a car accident at work, not only may there be a Georgia workers’ compensation claim, but also the incident may give rise to a negligence claim, a disability claim, an FMLA claim, and a medical malpractice claim, among others.

Construction SiteThe Difference Between Workers’ Compensation Claims and Personal Injury Claims

In a personal injury claim, a plaintiff has to show four elements:  duty, breach, causation, and damages. This means proving that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff, failed to meet the duty to act reasonably under the circumstances, and caused the plaintiff damages.

In contrast, in a workers’ compensation claim, a claimant does not need to show that the employer owed the claimant a duty, nor that it breached that duty by failing to act reasonably. In other words, it does not matter who is to blame for the injury. Instead, the claimant must only show that the injury occurred while in the course of employment and that it was related to the employment. The issue then becomes the extent of the claimant’s disability.

There is also a difference between the benefits available in personal injury claims versus workers’ compensation claims. In personal injury claims, a plaintiff can recover economic losses for lost income and medical bills as well as damages for pain and suffering, punitive damages, and other losses. Only one award or settlement is given, and the plaintiff cannot seek additional benefits in the future, even if they were unforeseen at the time of the award. However, in workers’ compensation claims, the claimant can receive the costs of reasonable medical bills and lost wages, but the claimant does not receive an award for pain and suffering. In addition, instead of receiving a one-time payment, the claimant could continue to receive payments as long as they remain disabled—although a claimant can also receive a settlement in some cases.

In Georgia workers’ compensation claims, there is a maximum amount of time for which a claimant may receive benefits in some cases. Additionally, either side can also move to increase, reduce, or stop the benefits. Understanding these differences and others is essential in these cases, and only an attorney with experience with that type of claim should represent a client in that claim.

In general, an injured employee’s sole remedy against an employer is through a workers’ compensation claim. However, there may be third-party personal injury liability, depending on the circumstances.

Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer

At the law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C., we handle Georgia workers’ compensation claims. Our attorneys have a combined 50 years of trial experience. Our law firm offers quality legal representation and responsive client service. You can expect excellent service communication, both in English and in Spanish. We are friendly, approachable attorneys who take the time to talk to you about your concerns. For knowledgeable representation by experienced injury attorneys, you can rely on the law office of J. Franklin Burns, P.C. To set up a free consultation about your workplace injury claim, call us today at 404-303-7770.

More Blog Entries:

Georgia Supreme Court Holds That Employer Not Required to Show Suitable Employment in Resolved Work-Aggravation Injury Cases, November 28, 2017, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog

Injured Worker Deemed Eligible for Benefits Despite Conviction for Fraud, November 13, 2017, Atlanta Workers’ Compensation Lawyer Blog