How is Worker’s Comp Different From a Car Crash or Other Injury Case?
Is There Really a Difference?
There’s a lot of confusion around injury cases and the question often arises, is there really a difference in the types of injury cases?
The answer to this question is very simply, YES!
There are actually THREE distinct ways that a work injury case is different from a civil, third-party case like a car crash. Let’s talk about these.
Difference #1: Proving Negligence
In a situation like a car crash case, you have to PROVE that the person who caused the crash was negligent. You have to prove they did something wrong.
In other words, you have to prove the 'other guy' ran a red light or didn't stop at a stop sign or was otherwise doing something wrong that caused the crash.
In a work injury case, you do not have to prove your employer was wrong. All you have to prove is that you were an employee at the time that you got hurt, and that you were working, just doing your job.
This is the same as the fancy lawyer talk- “course and scope of employment.”
If you get hurt at work, doing your job, you’re supposed to be covered by worker’s comp. There are a few exceptions but tht is mostly the case.
Difference #2: Attorney’s Fees
The second biggest difference in a worker’s comp case and other injury cases is that attorney’s fees can vary greatly.
If you’ve watched any of my other videos, you know that in a worker’s comp case the attorney’s fees are almost ALWAYS 20% and the client NEVER pays out of pocket.
Workers’ comp is simplified and streamlined in regards to the workload of the case. Now, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t crazy delays in work injury cases, because THERE ARE.
But, when you compare the details and the amount of work an attorney has to do in a car crash case compared to the work that they have to do in a worker’s comp case, the car crash case is way more work so the attorney’s fees are going to be higher. These cases take a lot of knowledge, time and skill; therefore, the fees could be a third, or maybe even 40% of what the attorney wins.
Difference #3: What Can You Get Paid For?
The last difference in these various injury cases is what you can get paid for.
So, in a work injury case, you can get paid for the time that you’re off work, medical bills that are related to the work incident are paid, and at the end of the case, you can get a LUMP SUM of money to pay you for the difference in your body. After all you did get injured, right?
This lump sum is called PPD, permanent partial disability, and it’s meant to compensate you for the change in the function or appearance of your body.
In any third-party civil litigation case, like a car crash, it’s a COMPLETELY different story.
In these cases you can claim your medical bills, your time off work, and your pain and suffering. You can even ask to be paid for your loss of normal life.
For example, let’s say you loved to go bowling with your friends before your car crash, now you can’t bowl at all. You can ask for money for that, explicitly. You may get in front of a judge and they decide your ability not to bowl anymore is worth a lot of money. Maybe they believe it is worth $10,000. Maybe they think it is worth $1,000,000.
In Workers Comp, damages are capped absed on an assessment of the permanency of your injuries, plyus your hourly rate. But in a 'third party' case that goes to the Judge and Jury, their evaluation of your losses is the only cap opn a verdict.
Judges can enter what is called a 'remittitur'. That is when, after a trial, the Judge thinks the Verdict is too high. These are pretty rare.
There’s also a ton of other things you can ask money for in a third-party case; loss of consortium, meaning the companionship and the sexual stuff with a spouse. The judge, or a judge and a jury, listens to the damages, and THEY decide how much you get.
But you’ll NEVER get that in a workers’ comp case. The damages are defined in the Workers Comp law, and if it isn't in the law, you can't get it.
Let Me Know
These are the 3 biggest differences between a car crash and Workers Comp, but there are a heck of a lot more than this, too. Whether you were in a car crash or work accident, I hope that this information helps you understand what you’re up against, no matter how you were injured.
If you need more information or have any questions, please contact me.
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