Workman’s Compensation or Personal Injury Claim?

Workmans Comp or Personal Injury

Accidents and injuries happen all the time. What happens if you injure yourself in a work-related accident? What are your options? Who takes care of your medical expenses?  How do you know if you should file a workman’s compensation claim or pursue a personal injury claim?

Let’s start out with the basics. You may be familiar with the terms workman’s compensation and personal injury but, like a lot of people,  do not necessarily know the difference or which one applies in a work-related injury situation.

What is Workman’s Compensation?

work injuryWorkman’s compensation coverage is provided by your employer and is designed to protect workers who are injured on the job in any way even if the injury was their fault. It ensures injured workers will receive some amount of weekly benefits and their medical bills paid; however, they lose the right to sue their employer or co-workers for negligence and the right to collect damages for pain and suffering.

Keep in mind, while this is a mandatory insurance program for employers, there are a few exceptions to the rule. State laws do vary and not every worker is covered so be sure you know what applies to your employer.

Workmans’ Compensation for the state of Missouri.

Workman’s Comp Differs from Personal Injury Claims

There are a few key differences between these two situations.

  • Fault. A workman’s compensation claim has nothing to do with who is at fault; however, in a personal injury claim, you must prove that the other person or entity’s negligence is the cause of your injuries. Bottom line, personal injury cases must prove fault.
  • Damages. In personal injury cases you are entitled to all forms of damages including pain and suffering. A workman’s compensation claim allows for medical expenses, weekly compensation for wages, permanent impairment benefits and vocational rehabilitation but it does not allow for pain and suffering.
  • Right to sue. Basically, anyone can file a personal injury claim to recover damages if they can prove another person or entity was at fault or negligent and caused the injuries. Workman’s compensation insurance covers employees who are injured during the course of their work; however, employees lose the right to sue their employer or co-workers.

As you can see, the main differences between a personal injury claim and a workman’s compensation claim are: fault requirements, types of compensation available and the right to sue.

Can You file Both Types of Claims?

It will depend on your specific situation.

In most cases, workman’s compensation is an exclusive remedy; that means, if you are hurt during the course of your employment you can only recover workman’s compensation payments. However, if you are hurt at work but it was caused by a third-party’s negligence, you may have a personal injury claim as well. For instance:

  • Your injury is caused by a defective tool or machine. This could be a product liability claim against the manufacturer that would be in addition to your workman’s comp claim.
  • While driving a delivery truck for your job, you are hit by a distracted driver. You could pursue a personal injury claim against the negligent driver along with your workman’s comp claim.

Workman’s Comp or Personal Injury?

Worker's comp, workman's compensation, personal injury claim, file a claim

With a workman’s compensation claim, your employer will have their own process and paperwork to complete.

Should you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, the best advice is to get legal assistance from an experienced personal injury attorney such as Nash & Franciskato. Your lawyer can speak to medical experts, review accident records, conduct independent investigations and more to determine who is liable for your injury and to get you the maximum compensation you deserve.


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a work-related accident, contact Nash & Franciskato at (877) 284-6600. One of our experienced staff will speak with you personally to determine your legal options and provide you with a free, no-obligation case evaluation.



If you would like to receive news and blog updates on a regular basis, sign up to receive our email newsletter.Your email address will only be used to send you our newsletter and respond to inquiries.


Past results afford no guarantee of future results and each case is different and is judged on its own merits. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published October 2, 2019. It was reviewed on April 27, 2023 and updated for content and accuracy.

Contact Us Today for Help!

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.