Being injured at work typically results in filing a workers’ comp claim. Most injured workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. However, that does not mean they do not have a personal injury claim as well.

Most workers assume they cannot file a personal injury claim for a workplace accident in Nevada. While it is true that workers’ compensation protects employers from being sued for negligence in most cases, workers’ comp does not prevent third-party claims. 

In other words, you might be able to collect workers’ comp benefits and file a third-party claim against the person who caused your injury. Therefore, if you are injured at work, you should talk with a Reno workers’ compensation lawyer to determine if you can file a personal injury claim with your workers’ comp claim. 

Workers’ Compensation Claims vs. Personal Injury Claims

There are some important differences between personal injury claims and workers’ compensation claims that workers need to be aware of after a workplace accident.

Workers’ Compensation Is Limited to Workers

Only injured workers are covered by workers’ compensation insurance. You must prove that you were injured during the ordinary course of employment to receive workers’ comp benefits. The coverage is intended to protect workers and provide essential care and wage benefits if the employee cannot work while they recover from the work injury. 

However, anyone who sustains an injury caused by another party can file personal injury claims. The primary difference is that the injured party has the burden of proving causation and fault to receive compensation for their damages. 

You Do Not Need To Prove Fault for a Workers’ Compensation Claim 

Workers’ compensation is a no-fault system. You do not need to prove your employer was negligent to receive workers’ comp benefits in Nevada. The accident could have been partially your fault, and you can receive the same benefits.

However, workers who intentionally cause their injuries are not entitled to workers’ compensation. Furthermore, if a worker was intoxicated while working, they might not receive workers’ comp benefits. 

Personal Injury Claims Require You To Prove Negligence 

Most personal injury claims require you to prove negligence. However, a few personal injury cases could involve strict liability, vicarious liability, or intentional torts. 

Negligence is the failure to act with reasonable care. To create liability and recover compensation for a personal injury claim, you would need to prove the following:

  • Duty – A person or company owes you a duty of care.
  • Breach of Duty – The party’s conduct or actions breached the duty of care by failing to meet a reasonable standard of care.
  • Causation – The party’s breach of duty was the proximate and direct cause of your injury.
  • Damages – You sustained damages because of the party’s actions.

You have the burden of proving your case by a preponderance of the evidence. If you cannot prove each of the above elements, you do not receive any compensation for a personal injury case.

Furthermore, the party who caused your injury can allege contributory fault as a defense to the personal injury claim, which decreases the value of your damages. Unlike a workers’ comp case, you are penalized in a personal injury case for contributing to the cause of your injury. 

Nevada’s modified contributory fault law bars you from receiving any compensation for your injury if you are 51% or more at fault for the cause of your injury. If your level of fault is below that amount, your compensation is reduced by the percentage of your fault. Therefore, if you were 30% to blame for a car accident, your compensation would be reduced by 30%.

Personal Injury Claims Compensate Victims for More Damages 

Workers’ compensation pays for medical treatment for injured workers. It also provides temporary disability payments while the employee is out of work. 

However, workers’ compensation does not compensate employees for all lost wages and financial losses. Furthermore, workers’ comp does not pay a worker for their pain and suffering damages. 

On the other hand, personal injury claims are compensatory actions. The injured victim receives compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Therefore, filing a personal injury claim could benefit you because you could receive more compensation for your work injury. 

In a personal injury claim, you could receive compensation for damages, including:

  • The cost of medical treatment and care, including nursing care, physical therapy, and other therapies
  • All loss of income, including overtime, commissions, salaries, benefits, future lost wages, and decreases in future earning capacity
  • Out-of-pocket expenses, including the cost of personal care and assistance with household chores
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Mental anguish and trauma
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Impairments and disabilities 
  • Emotional distress and suffering
  • Diminished quality of life

In some cases, an injured worker could be entitled to punitive damages by filing a personal injury case. Punitive damages do not compensate you for damages. Instead, the award punishes the party who caused your injury for specific conduct that exceeds ordinary negligence. 

When Can a Worker File a Personal Injury Lawsuit for a Workplace Injury?

Whenever another party contributes to the cause of your injury, it is wise to consult a Reno personal injury lawyer. The attorney reviews the circumstances of your work injury to determine if a third-party claim is possible.

Examples of instances where an injured worker might have a personal injury case include, but are not limited to:

  • A defective product caused the worker’s injury, creating a product liability claim against the manufacturer or other parties.
  • The employee sustains an injury because of a traffic accident while traveling as part of their ordinary work duties.
  • A worker sustains an injury on another person’s property, creating a premises liability claim. 
  • The employer acted intentionally to cause injury to the employee.
  • The worker’s injury involves exposure to toxic, hazardous, or illegal substances. 
  • The employer failed to have the required workers’ compensation insurance to cover the employee.

Because a work accident involving a third-party claim can be complicated, it is best to seek legal counsel as soon as possible to protect your rights. Personal injury claims and workers’ comp claims have different deadlines and procedures. Therefore, a delay in seeking legal advice could result in losing your right to file a personal injury lawsuit in addition to your workers’ comp claim. 

Contact the Reno Personal Injury Attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident in Reno and you need legal assistance, contact our personal injury attorneys at Battle Born Injury Lawyers and schedule a free consultation with our legal team.

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Reno Office
675 W Moana Ln #206
Reno, NV 89509, USA
(775) 535-7768

Battle Born Injury Lawyers
400 S 4th St Suite 290,
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 357-4868

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Las Vegas Office
10789 W Twain Ave #100
Las Vegas, NV 89135
(702) 570-9000

Battle Born Injury Lawyers – Henderson Office
8540 S Eastern Ave #200
Henderson, NV 89123
(702) 500-0287