What Is the Difference Between Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation Claims?

  • Personal Injury
February 8, 2024

While both personal injury and workers’ compensation claims involve injuries, there are some distinct differences, namely when it comes to who is at fault, the nature of the injuries, and what you’re allowed to seek for compensation.

Here at Jorgensen, Brownell & Pepin, P.C., we have attorneys who specialize in personal injury claims and can help guide you through that process. We don’t handle workers’ compensation claims (though we partner with firms that do). Hopefully, this article will help you understand how these two areas of the law differ and where they, sometimes, overlap.


This is one of the most significant differences between the two types of claims.

To pursue a personal injury claim, you must establish that the opposing party was negligent or intentionally caused you harm. You must claim that they were at fault.

For workers’ compensation claims, you are not required to prove that your employer or a co-worker was negligent. You can be compensated for your on-the-job injuries, regardless of fault. You can file a claim even if your actions contributed to the injury or illness.

How It Happened

Personal injury claims are designed to offer an avenue of recourse if a person is harmed due to another party's negligence or intentional actions. Examples include car accidents, slips and falls, or injuries from a defective product.

Workers’ compensation claims are specific to injuries sustained while on the job. These claims are designed to provide financial support and medical benefits to employees who suffer work-related injuries or illnesses. Examples include construction site accidents or work-related illnesses.

When a person is harmed while they’re on the job by someone outside the company (e.g. a car crash caused by a non-employee driver), their personal injury and workers’ compensation claims overlap and we can help.

Differences in Compensation

If you file a personal injury claim, you can seek compensation for medical expenses, rehabilitation expenses, long-term care, loss of earnings, and pain and suffering. The more precise the defendant’s liability and the more you are hurt, the more your case is worth.

If you are injured while on the job and file a workers’ compensation claim, you are entitled to medical benefits, wage replacement, vocational rehabilitation, and disability benefits. You are not entitled to compensation for pain and suffering or punitive damages.

How to File a Personal Injury Claim

Anyone injured due to the negligence of another person (other than the injured person’s co-worker or employer) can file a personal injury lawsuit against the person that hurt them. In Colorado, you generally have two years to do that from the date you were injured. The exception is motor vehicle accidents, which allow three years to file suit.

Here at Jorgenson, Brownell & Pepin, P.C., we have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can answer all your questions, help you understand your rights, and get you the compensation you deserve.

There are no upfront costs. We accept personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, which means we don’t get paid unless you do, and consultations are free.

How to File a Workers’ Compensation Claim

Workers’ compensation claims are limited to employees. First, report the injury or illness to your employer and seek medical attention. You then fill out a form for your employer, and they’re responsible for initiating the workers’ compensation claim process.

Not Sure If You Have a Personal Injury Case?

Serious injuries can be both physically painful and highly stressful. If another person’s negligence is to blame, we are here to protect your rights. Contact us today for your free consultation.

With offices in Broomfield, Denver, Longmont, and Loveland, we have happy clients all over Colorado, and our attorneys represent your best interests no matter where your injury occurred.

Get The Help You Need

Get JBP Legal’s experience on your side. Contact us for questions or a consultation.