Some workers’ compensation cases are also personal injury cases. Having a South Carolina attorney who handles both work comp and accident cases is important.

Injured at Work? You May Need a Workers’ Comp Lawyer Who Also Handles Personal Injury Cases

If you’ve been injured on the job in South Carolina, you may have a workers’ compensation claim. Depending on the circumstances of your work injury, you may also have a second, personal injury case.

Having a law firm that handles both workers’ compensation and personal injury cases can help with the coordination and timing of your cases. The team at the Steinberg Law Firm can help.

When Do You Have Two Cases?

You may have both a workers’ compensation case and a personal injury case if you were injured at work and another, third party was involved. The workers’ compensation portion is handled via a claim against the employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier and then a second claim can be pursued against the third party.

The Workers’ Compensation and Personal Injury Process

When an injured employee has two claims, the workers’ compensation claim comes first. Workers’ compensation covers losses related to a work injury and time away from work.

A workers’ compensation claim begins when you notify your employer of a work-related injury. Your employer may provide a list of recommended medical providers, or you may seek emergency care for a severe injury. Both the employer and employee must file a claim with the South Carolina Workers’ Compensation Commission.

Workers’ compensation includes three types of benefits:

  • Medical Benefits for medical expenses related to your work injury,
  • Lost Wages for the time you must spend away from work to recover, and
  • Permanent Disability Benefits if your injury prevents you from working long-term.

These benefits are calculated according to South Carolina’s workers’ compensation laws. However, they do not always cover every loss. For instance, injured employees typically receive two-thirds of their lost wages under workers’ compensation.

Workers’ compensation benefits are not paid twice. If your workers’ compensation claim pays these benefits, you will not receive a second payment from a personal injury case for the same damages.

A personal injury case helps secure benefits that workers’ compensation does not pay. These include compensation for the pain and suffering you endured due to your workplace injury. In a personal injury case, you may also seek any “leftover” amounts, such as the remaining one-third of your lost wages.

When a Third Party is Responsible for Your Injuries

A personal injury claim related to a workers’ compensation claim is sometimes called a “third-party claim.” The personal injury claim isn’t filed against your employer or their insurance. Instead, it is filed against another party whose actions caused or contributed to your injuries.

Examples of workers’ compensation cases that might also have a third-party personal injury claim include the following:

In each of these examples, the injured employee may file a workers’ compensation claim. Since their injuries happened on the job, they may seek workers’ compensation coverage for medical bills, lost wages, and permanent disability benefits.

In each example, the injured employee also has a potential third-party claim. The delivery driver may have a third-party personal injury claim against the driver who ran the red light. The worker using the power tool may have a personal injury claim against the tool’s manufacturer or designer. The salesperson may have a claim against the owner of the office building.

Workers’ compensation is a form of insurance that protects both employees and employers. One condition of this insurance is that you cannot file a personal injury claim against your employer. You could file a personal injury claim against a third party, however, if their negligence caused your injury.

Why You Need a Workers’ Compensation Attorney Who Also Does Personal Injury

Personal injury cases and workers’ compensation cases are not the same type of legal case. A personal injury case often has a higher burden of proof than a workers’ compensation claim. The compensation available in each type of case differs as well. The laws and the process governing each type of case are also very different.

An attorney or law firm that offers assistance in both workers’ compensation and personal injury claims will consider both the workers’ compensation and personal injury aspects of your claim. From the beginning, an attorney will gather information and craft a strategy to maximize your recovery for both cases.

When an attorney does not plan for both cases at once, events in the workers’ compensation claim might undermine efforts in the personal injury case. For example, certain statements made in the workers’ compensation claim might hinder your ability to prove the full extent of your personal injury losses. An attorney who does both types of cases knows how to prevent any missteps that might bar you from receiving all the compensation you deserve. A coordinated plan for both cases by the same law firm can be an advantage in these situations.

If you have a work injury involving a third party, call our experienced South Carolina workers’ compensation and personal injury attorneys for a free consultation. Our fee is free until we collect compensation for you.

Updated on January 26, 2024

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