Workers’ compensation claims, when handled correctly, can be a convenient way to get an injured employer financial coverage that pays for medical bills and missing wages. The convenience stems from the fact that liability is almost-never an issue in a workers’ comp claim. Benefits should be rewarded to an injured employee, even if he or she is partially responsible for their own injury.
However, the removal of liability is also paired with the removal of pain and suffering damages in workers’ compensation. If an employee has experienced chronic pain, day-to-day frustrations, and other disturbances commonly associated with a serious or lifelong injury, there is nothing within workers’ compensation law and benefits packages that will compensate them specifically in this regard.
Ways a Worker Can Get Pain & Suffering Damages
No matter what state you live in, workers’ compensation payouts will not include pain and suffering damages. At this point, there is no reason to think that maybe pain and suffering statutes would be added to workers’ compensation law, either. But that does not mean that an injured worker is completely unable to collect such damages after a workplace or work-related injury.
If the gross negligence of another party was the primary cause of the accident, it might be possible to file a separate civil lawsuit against that individual or party. Pain and suffering damages – sometimes called nominal damages – can be rewarded in settlements or verdicts for civil suits.
For example: A bicycle food courier is struck by a drunk driver while bringing a meal to a customer across town. The courier can file for workers’ compensation benefits since he was performing a task necessary for his job, which can pay for his medical bills and missing wages. He could also file a personal injury claim against the negligent driver for any damages not covered already by workers’ comp, including pain and suffering.
When You Need to Fight for More Compensation
Sometimes an injured employee is not offered enough workers’ compensation upfront to pay for even necessarily medical bills – let alone pain and suffering. What happens then? Depending on the details of the case, there may be an opportunity to take legal action against the employer or insurance provider that has undervalued the claim.
Nathaniel Hansford is the managing partner at The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford and is highly experienced in the area of workers' compensation with 15+ years of experience on his side.