How Workers’ Comp Handles Pain and Suffering

Workers’ comp is the system that provides workers with compensation for any injuries they sustain while doing their job. It ensures that work environments need to be safe and workers will always be able to receive medical care for accidents that were out of their control. This raises the question of what is covered by workers’ comp. Many people wonder if pain and suffering is covered. This simple guide will give you all the information you need to know about this aspect of workers’ comp.

Types of Damages

What most people think of as “pain and suffering” is actually just one part of a larger category of damages. General compensatory damages refer to all damages that do not have a set monetary value. The most well-known type of general compensatory damages is pain and suffering, but there are others. Anything that can be objectively set at a certain price, such as medical bills that total $500, falls into the category of special compensatory damages. Other things that can be considered general compensatory damages include emotional pain, trauma, and loss of ability such as sight or movement. In personal injury cases, the judge is the one to decide the monetary value of pain and suffering and other general compensatory damages.

Workers’ Compensation Cases

The way workers’ comp functions will depend heavily on which state you live in. In most states, workers’ comp does not cover any kind of general compensatory damages, including pain and suffering. Workers’ comp usually only covers tangible losses, such as medical bills and procedures or lost wages. In other words, workers’ comp only covers special compensatory damages.

When You Can Sue

As previously stated, defendants can receive pain and suffering compensation in a personal injury case. When injured on the job, you usually cannot sue your employer, and must go through the workers’ comp system. There are a few rare instances where you are allowed to sue the responsible party, rather than go through the workers’ comp system, and doing so would allow you to receive pain and suffering compensation. These instances include:

  • A third party caused the work-related injury.
  • Your employer intentionally injured you.
  • The injury was not sustained while performing work-related activities.

Even if the injury was a result of extremely negligent behavior, such as failing to maintain machinery for years, workers’ compensation is the only option available to workers who were injured. If you think you have been wronged by the workers’ comp system, your first step should be to speak to a lawyer.

 

Source: Workers Compensation Lawyer West Palm Beach, Law Office of Franks, Koenig & Neuwelt

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