Workers' Compensation and Personal Injury Claims

According to the Industrial Commission, in the fiscal year from 2012-2013, 97,730 employees filed workers compensation injury claims in Arizona.

On-the-job injuries can occur for many reasons.  When negligence is involved, in addition to a work-comp claim, the employee may have a personal injury claim against the negligent party. For example, if a sales representative is driving across town to pay a visit to a client and is struck by another vehicle that runs a stop sign, that employee now has both a personal injury claim and a workers compensation claim.  The employee must file a workers compensation claim that will then pay for her medical bills and a portion of her lost income from time missed from work as a result of her injuries. This occurs regardless of who or what caused the injury. [1]
 
However, worker’s compensation claims do not pay for pain and suffering. Pain and suffering entail the restless nights, the burdens on the employee’s family any other inconveniences caused by the employee’s injuries including the severe pain that she must now endure. To be compensated for pain and suffering, the employee must make a claim against the negligent party. In our example, this is the stop sign runner.
 
This is where things get a bit tricky. The worker’s compensation insurance company is entitled to settlement proceeds from a personal injury claim against the negligent party for money spent in the work-comp claim. In other words, if the work comp insurance pays $10,000 for lost wages and medical bills and the personal injury settlement is $30,000, the work comp insurance company is entitled to $10,000 from the personal injury settlement because the employee’s injury was found to be the fault of another individual. This is often referred to as subrogation. Paying back worker’s compensation subrogation liens is not optional. The worker’s compensation attorney and the personal injury attorney must work together to achieve a maximum recovery for the client.
 
Getting injured by another person’s negligence while on the job can add considerable complication to your personal injury claim. Therefore, we highly recommend that you seek legal representation from a firm such as the Rockafellow Law Firm with multiple decades of experience navigating the complicated intricacies of joint personal injury and workers compensation claims.


[1] If the worker is found to be responsible for her own injury, worker’s compensation insurance may not apply.

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