Q: I was injured at work due to – in my view – the negligence of my employer. In general, how difficult is it to prove negligence in a personal injury case and/or what are the main factors that play into proving a negligence case?
A: In Indiana, when you are injured on the job the only claim you normally (there are some exceptions) have against your employer or coworker for injuries is known as a “workers compensation” claim. To bring a worker’s compensation claim, you actually do not need to prove anyone is negligent. Rather, you just have to show the injury was:
- 1) accidental;
- 2) arose out of the employment relationship; and
- 3) occurred in the course of employment.
This standard for a worker’s compensation claim differs from the standard for bringing a personal injury claim. A personal injury claim is when you bring a claim for injuries against someone other than your employer or coworker. In a personal injury case you must prove the at-fault person or entity owed you a duty of reasonable care, the person or entity was negligent in breaching that duty and that the breach of duty caused your injury.
Keep in mind that it is possible to have both a worker’s compensation claim and a personal injury claim for the same accident and injury. An example of such a situation would be if you were driving a vehicle for your job and you were hit by another motorist. Here, you were injured by an accident that arose out of and in the course of your employment (worker’s compensation claim) and the other motorist, who was not your coworker, breached his/her duty of reasonable care and caused your injuries (personal injury claim).
Of course, there are exceptions to these general rules. So, you should seek the advice of an experienced injury lawyer can help you identify what type of claim(s) you may have, the time deadlines and next steps.
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