Workers’ compensation is a benefit under which you can file a claim if you are hurt while performing your job. There are many types of compensation you can recover for expenses due to lost wages, medical treatment, retraining, permanent disability, etc., but unfortunately, pain and suffering is not covered by workers’ comp.
What Is Pain and Suffering, and Why Doesn’t Workers’ Comp Cover It?
“Pain and suffering” is a rather broad legal term that refers to an effect of an accident that decreases your quality of life. It can include physical discomfort or pain but is not limited to it. For example, if because of severe pain or disability caused by a work related accident, you are no longer able to participate in a favorite hobby or activity, the inability would reduce your enjoyment of life and so would qualify as pain and suffering. Similarly, any negative effects on your emotions related to the accident, such as anger toward the person responsible for the accident or frustration with being unable to perform normal activities, would also qualify.
Limiting workers’ compensation to covering concrete expenses like medical bills and lost wages allows the claim process to resolve more quickly. This is a good thing for you because it means you may receive your compensation sooner, and it is a good thing for your employer not to have to be caught up in a long, drawn-out legal process. However, the trade-off is a lack of coverage for pain and suffering under workers’ compensation.
What Other Options Do You Have?
When you are injured on the job, you have a choice of either filing a workers’ compensation claim or filing a personal injury lawsuit against your employer. However, you must choose one or the other; you cannot do both. Furthermore, once you start collecting workers’ compensation benefits, you cannot change your mind and sue your employer instead.
However, it seems that there are exceptions to every rule, and that applies to pain and suffering with a workers’ compensation claim as well. A workplace injury may cause you to develop a psychological disorder, such as anxiety or PTSD. If a condition such as these resulted directly from the accident, you could make a workers’ comp claim for it and it would be considered a compensable consequence, meaning that you could receive payment.
Another situation that can arise is if your work-related accident was caused by someone outside the company. In that instance, you could possibly sue the third party for personal injury, including pain and suffering, and it would be unlikely to affect your workers’ compensation claim.
It is important to make informed decisions regarding workers’ compensation. Lawyers may be able to help when you contact a law office.
Source: Workers Comp Attorneys NY, Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen, P.C.