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Personal Injury or Workers’ Compensation?4 minute read

Many firms have lawyers who practice personal injury or workers’ compensation but not both.  We are different.  Our attorneys have over sixty years’ combined experience actually handling personal injury claims and over sixty years’ combined experience actually handling worker’s compensation claims. So, why would this ever matter to you?

Often, when someone is injured at work, they only get workers’ compensation.  This is because of a part of the workers’ compensation law called “exclusive remedy”.  This part of the law says that you usually only get workers’ compensation when you get hurt at work.  You cannot file a separate personal injury lawsuit against your employer for being negligent.

Some types of injuries that may involve both personal injury and workers’ compensation

However, there are times where cases involve both worker’s compensation and personal injury claims.  From one single accident you may have a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury claim, sometimes called a “combination claim”.This happens more often than you might realize.  It usually happens when you are injured on your job and your injury is caused by the negligence of someone else who is not a co-employee.

If your law firm doesn’t practice both personal injury and workers’ compensation, it could cost you thousands of dollars. How is that? A firm that only practices worker’s compensation may not investigate and determine that a third party helped bring about your injury. A firm that only practices personal injury may not meet the strict time deadlines and other requirements for worker’s compensation claims. Even if your attorney identifies both claims, if her firm isn’t able to handle them both, the worker’s compensation insurer and automobile insurers may try to play your attorneys against one another and decrease your settlements. Having one law firm working on both claims doesn’t allow them to do that. These “combination claims” require special considerations to get you the best results.

Here are a few examples of some of some of these “dual” cases we have handled:

  • Our client was driving a car for work and was involved in a collision with another car.
  • Our client was a delivery person and was at an unloading facility when someone driving a forklift for that facility ran into him.
  • Our client worked in a warehouse and the maintenance crew that worked for a different employer left the floor wet and didn’t place any warning signs. Our client slipped and fell on the wet floor.
  • Our client was using a scissor lift to access lights at the top of a warehouse. The scissor lift failed and injured our client.
  • Our client was working for a subcontractor on a construction site. Another subcontractor left a pipe unsecured, and it fell and hit our client in the head.

A law firm that does not actually handle both types of claims may fail to recognize that a client has a right to pursue both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims from one incident. If that happens to you, you could lose tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits.  Knowing how to identify and handle these “dual” cases is critically important.

Can I collect money in both my workers’ compensation and personal injury claim?

It depends. In Georgia, a workers’ compensation insurance company will potentially have a lien against your personal injury settlement. There are strategies that can be used to make sure that the lien that the insurance company has is minimized or even avoided altogether. These strategies usually work best if your personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys know how to work together. Our personal injury and workers’ compensation attorneys have successfully handled many of these “combination claims” for our clients.

Questions about personal injury or workers’ compensation

If you have questions about pursuing personal injury and workers’ compensation claims or any other questions about personal injury or workers’ compensation, consider talking to one of our attorneys for free.  You can set up a free consultation by calling the phone number or completing the “Need Help” form on the right side of this page.

What if I have other questions about workers compensation?

Georgia’s workers compensation system can be very confusing.  You have to worry about getting the treatment you need and paying your bills while also worrying about not missing any deadlines that could cause you to lose your right to receive workers compensation benefits.

If you have questions, I would recommend that you try to get answers.  To find out more about how to schedule a time to talk to me about your workers compensation questions, just read this short article.

Jason Perkins is an attorney who specializes in representing injured workers.  He regularly publishes videos and write blog articles about Georgia’s workers compensation system and issues that are important to injured workers and their families.

To be notified of Jason’s new workers compensation videos, subscribe to his Georgia Workers Compensation Video Series channel on YouTube by clicking the subscribe button below.

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