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Seasoned Sacramento Injury Attorneys

Should I File a Workers' Comp or Personal Injury Case?


If you have been injured in a work-related incident, you may be wondering whether it’s a good idea to file a workers’ compensation claim or a personal injury case. The answer isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, as some situations could support filing for either one as opposed to one or the other. On this blog, we’ll take a look at when to file for each of these different types of injury cases in order to help you choose which one is right for you.

When to file a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation is a system that’s designed to protect both employers and employees by granting workers the right to receive treatment, lost income, and other benefits when they are injured on the job. In exchange for this right, they waive the right to sue their employer for injuries they sustain. As a result, employers don’t have to worry about a costly lawsuit from an employee running them bankrupt and forcing them to shut down.

If you have been injured while on the job, performing normal and regular duties during normal business hours, then you should file a workers’ compensation claim. Your personal injury claim will probably be dismissed on the basis that your injury is work-related and therefore you should be pursuing a workers’ compensation claim as opposed to a personal injury lawsuit.

When to File a Personal Injury Suit

Personal injury lawsuits are designed for injuries in nearly every other situation. For example, you’re walking down the street and trip over a piece of elevated cement caused by tree root intrusion, you can hold whoever is responsible for that sidewalk liable for the damages (usually your city or whoever maintains the sidewalk).

This can include situations that might seem work-related, but aren’t necessarily eligible for a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if you are injured at a company picnic or corporate function at an off-site location, the activity you are doing may be work-related but it’s outside of the normal scope of your duties. Therefore, your best course of action would be to file a personal injury claim against whoever is responsible for the cause of your injury. In fact, in many cases your employer isn’t even responsible for injuries at these offsite locations—the location itself is.

Conversely, if you are at an offsite location but are there because of your normal work duties (i.e. if you are a field repair technician) and you suffer an injury, you should file a workers’ compensation claim.

For more information about workers’ compensation and personal injury cases, speak with the experienced Sacramento lawyers at Smolich and Smolich today! Call us at (916) 571-0400 for a case evaluation.