How are workers’ compensation cases different from personal injury cases?

Well sometimes they’re the same thing, but workers’ compensation is different from personal injury law in two different ways. One is workers’ compensation is a no fault system. You don’t have to prove than anybody was at fault to cause the injury; because the injury occurs in the course of employment and rises out of the employment, the employee is entitled to certain benefits under the law regardless of fault. The flip side is the benefits you are entitled to are different. You don’t get pain and suffering in workers’ compensation and you’re not entitled to lost wages. It’s a wage supplement and a loss of earning capacity claim is what it is. The cases are typically handled very much like a personal injury case in that we do discovery, we do depositions, we seek out the opinions of experts and things of that nature. We just don’t go to trial before a jury. We go to trial before an administrative law judge and then, potentially, we go through an appeals process very similar to what we do in civil cases, but the difference is the trial is not before a jury – it’s just before an administrative law judge.

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