If you have been injured in an accident on the job, North Carolina’s workers’ compensation benefits can serve as a vital lifeline as you try to recover and return to work. Most employers are required to carry workers’ comp insurance policies that cover necessary medical care and a portion of your lost wages for a specific period after an accident. In some situations, though, you might also be eligible to file a third-party personal injury claim to recover additional compensation.
It can be difficult to understand the distinctions between these types of claims. So it’s always a good idea to speak with an experienced North Carolina work injury lawyer from Poisson, Poisson & Bower, PLLC. We will evaluate your case, identify all possible sources of compensation, and help you pursue the full amount you need to recover.
Our North Carolina work injury attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping people throughout Wadesboro, Wilmington, and across North Carolina. We are Board-Certified Specialists in Workers’ Compensation Law. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Understanding a Third-Party Claim vs. Workers’ Compensation
If you are injured on the job, you should know the crucial differences between third-party claims and workers’ comp claims. For starters, if you are an eligible employee, you can file a workers’ comp claim any time you suffer a job-related injury. It typically doesn’t matter who was at fault, even if you caused your own injuries.
With that said, the benefits you can recover from a workers’ comp claim are limited. Workers’ compensation only covers the cost of medical bills, occupational therapy, attendant care, travel reimbursement over 20 miles roundtrip, and a portion of any lost wages from missed time at work. It is unfortunate, but pain and suffering damages are not a part of workers’ compensation claims.
If someone other than your employer or a coworker was at fault for your injury, you may also be entitled to file a third-party claim. An example of a case that may involve a third-party claim is when a worker is hurt in a car accident on the job. Another example would be when a defective piece of equipment leads to a workplace injury. In these examples, the injured worker may be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver or the manufacturer of the defective equipment, respectively.
Through a third-party claim, you may be entitled to more compensation than you receive through a workers’ comp claim. This includes significant compensation for future losses in your earning potential, pain, and suffering, and even loss in quality of life.
Compensation in Your Work Injury Claim
If you have grounds to file a personal injury claim after a workplace accident, you could recover compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Incidental expenses, such as travel costs
- Lost wages
- Losses in future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Permanent injury
- Loss in quality or enjoyment of life
- Loss of companionship, if a partner is affected
- Punitive damages, in rare cases where the at-fault party was willfully and wantonly negligent