Employees who get injured on the job may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. However, pursuing compensation can be confusing, especially when distinguishing between workers’ compensation and personal injury claims. In South Carolina, there are significant differences between these two types of claims, including the types of benefits available, the parties responsible for paying the benefits, and the eligibility requirements for filing a claim.
What Is a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
Workers’ compensation is a system designed to benefit injured employees while performing their duties. In South Carolina, all employers with four or more employees must carry workers’ compensation insurance. This insurance benefits employees injured on the job, regardless of who was at fault for the injury.
What Are the Available Benefits of a Workers’ Compensation Claim?
The benefits available through workers’ compensation in South Carolina include:
- Medical Treatment: Workers’ compensation will cover the cost of medical treatment for work-related injuries.
- Wage Replacement: If an employee cannot work due to their injuries, workers’ compensation will provide wage replacement benefits until they can return to work.
- Permanent Disability: If an employee’s injuries result in permanent disability, they may be entitled to additional benefits.
- Death Benefits: If an employee dies due to a work-related injury, their dependents may be entitled to death benefits.
What Is a Personal Injury Claim?
A personal injury claim is a legal action that seeks compensation for injuries that were caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional actions. Personal injury claims can arise from various situations, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, and medical malpractice.
What Are the Available Benefits of a Personal Injury Claim?
The benefits available in a personal injury claim can include:
- Medical Expenses: The at-fault party may be responsible for paying the injured party’s medical expenses.
- Lost Wages: If the injured party cannot work due to their injuries, they may be entitled to compensation for their lost wages.
- Pain and Suffering: The injured party may be entitled to compensation for the physical pain and emotional distress caused by their injuries.
- Punitive Damages: In cases where the at-fault party’s actions were particularly egregious, the injured party may be entitled to punitive damages.
Key Differences between Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Claims
There are several key differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims in South Carolina:
In a workers’ compensation claim, fault does not matter. The injured employee is entitled to benefits regardless of who was at fault for the injury. In a personal injury claim, the injured party must be able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent or intentionally caused their injuries.
- Types of Benefits
As stated above, workers’ compensation benefits include medical treatment, wage replacement, permanent disability, and death benefits. Personal injury claims can include compensation for various damages, including pain and suffering and punitive damages.
- Parties Responsible for Paying Benefits
The employer or insurance company pays benefits in a workers’ compensation claim. In a personal injury claim, the at-fault party or their insurance company is responsible for paying benefits.
- Eligibility Requirements
Workers’ compensation claims have specific eligibility requirements, including being an employee of a company that carries workers’ compensation insurance. Personal injury claims have more general eligibility requirements, including being able to prove that the at-fault party was negligent or intentionally caused the injuries.
Understanding the key differences between workers’ compensation claims and personal injury claims in South Carolina is essential for employees injured on the job. While both types of claims can compensate for injuries, the benefits available, parties responsible for paying the benefits, and eligibility requirements can vary significantly. It is important to consult an experienced attorney to determine which type of claim is appropriate for your situation and to ensure your rights are protected.
If you need expert legal assistance with a workers’ compensation claim, the Law Offices of Wilkerson, Jones and Wilkerson is the best in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Our Rock Hill workers’ compensation lawyers have over 20 years of experience representing injured workers who have sustained serious injury and harm while on the job. Get in touch with us today and let’s talk.