Can You Get Pain and Suffering With Workers Compensation? | The Ultimate Guide
There are certain cases where a personal injury claim can result in victims being awarded a lot more compensation than they initially hoped for. This usually occurs when a personal injury lawyer manages to convince a judge to take into consideration the pain and suffering endured by the victim.
However, what about personal injuries that happen at work? Can you get pain and suffering with workers' compensation? These are some of the first questions that go through the mind of a person who is considering filing a personal injury lawsuit.
Injured workers normally expect to get compensation for lost wages and medical bills as part of their workers' compensation benefits. However, in some cases, an injured worker might feel entitled to additional pain and suffering damages. If this is the case, a workers' compensation lawyer will be able to help with the workers' comp claim.
At Larrimer and Larrimer, we have been assisting injured workers to fight for fair workers' compensation since 1929, and our win record and attorney-client relationship speak for themselves.
If an injured worker is trying to get pain and suffering damages as part of their workers' compensation claim, we offer a free case evaluation at our Columbus, Ohio law office to discuss the best strategy for each case.
What Is "Pain and Suffering?"
With regards to a personal injury lawsuit, pain and suffering can best be defined as the physical and emotional stress caused by an injury. Although it can be one of the most difficult things to prove during personal injury claims, it is, however, recognized by the state of Ohio as legal grounds to seek damages.
In a personal injury lawsuit, pain and suffering damages are part of the non-economic damages that can be awarded to a victim according to the court's discretion. This differentiates them from economic damages, which are intended to compensate the victim for any financial disadvantages that may have been caused by lost wages or medical bills.
The bad news for employees is that, while a work-related injury is easily covered by workers' compensation benefits, they cannot claim pain and suffering compensation. Workers' compensation simply does not recognize pain and suffering claims in the same way as personal injury lawsuits do.
Why Doesn't Workers' Compensation Cover Pain and Suffering?
While it is true that a workplace injury can cause pain and suffering to the injured worker in the same way as any other type of injury, it is not covered by workers' compensation claims because of one major reason. Workers' compensation is based on a no-fault insurance policy between the employer and the insurance company, designed to make claims easier to resolve.
What it means is, to make the process easier by removing the need to establish fault between the employer and employee, various benefits outside of lost wages and medical bills, such as pain and suffering damages, are no longer covered.
Luckily for employees, there is an indirect route to still get additional compensation for pain and suffering, by maximizing the normal workers' compensation claim. Any one of our workers' comp lawyers in Columbus OH at Larrimer and Larrimer can help with this. First, a better understanding of personal injury claims for a workplace injury is needed.
Common Causes of Workplace Injuries
Workplace injuries are injuries or illnesses that occur involving an employee's job. When a work accident causes an injury to occur, the employee is likely to experience a lot of pain and emotional suffering.
A variety of injuries and incidents in the workplace can cause a lot of pain and suffering to workers. These are:
Slips, trips, and falls
Overexertion and muscle strains
Struck by workers, equipment, or falling object
Crashes or collisions
Exposure to harmful substances or environments.
Fire and explosions
Violence from other persons or animals
In addition to physical pain and suffering, workers can also experience emotional distress due to various work-related circumstances, such as discrimination, racism, sexual harassment, unfair dismissal, and many others.
Although on their own, these incidents might not be enough for a workers’ compensation claim, an experienced lawyer, can use them as aggravating circumstances to win better pain and suffering damages.
Who Can Receive Workers’ Compensation Damages
When a personal injury claim is made at work, the first step is to determine whether the claimant is eligible to be awarded any workers' comp benefits. Workers' compensation laws in Ohio are very specific on the requirements for a worker to be able to receive benefits.
In general, to qualify for workers' comp, a person must be a registered employee, the employer must be covered by a workers' compensation insurance company, and the injury must be work-related. In addition to these requirements, a workers' comp claim needs to have the following:
Completed company claim form
All Medical bills associated with the injury
A statement from the employee detailing events leading to the personal injury claim
All former compensation records if any
A medical certificate and medical expenses related to the injury
Duly signed Memorandum of agreement according to the Employees’ Compensation Act, 1923
If these requirements have been met, and all the mentioned documents are available, an injured worker can come to our offices for a free consult regarding their workers' comp claim.
Can You Sue for Pain and Suffering Damages?
Although workers' compensation does not cover pain and suffering, anyone who is experiencing chronic pain as a result of a workplace accident is well within their rights to sue the responsible party.
The outcome of such workers' compensation cases, however, depends heavily on the ability to prove that the pain and suffering go hand in hand with the physical pain caused by the work injury.
One tactic that can be used by an experienced compensation lawyer to win non-economic damages for injured employees is to claim additional compensation on the following grounds:
Permanent Partial disability
If the worker is experiencing chronic pain, to such an extent that they are unable to work, this can be regarded as a valid reason to seek disability benefits. A detailed medical report is needed that clearly shows the nature of the physical injury, medical costs and medical treatment, physical therapy, and other limitations on the workers' quality of life.
With good legal advice and a doctor who can prove any negative impact on the client's mental health, for example, due to depression, stress, and anxiety, these can be used to increase the amount awarded as compensation for pain and other non-economic damages.
Why Do You Need a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer?
Getting full benefits for pain and suffering from a job-related injury is by no means an easy task because of how the workers' compensation system is structured. Unlike a personal injury case, which is a lot more accommodating, a workers' compensation case is more like a trade-off and requires a passionate lawyer to win additional damages.
Let us discuss some of the many things that an experienced lawyer can do for injured workers, who come for a free case evaluation, or seek additional workers' comp after a workplace accident.
Representation at Formal Hearings
Before considering the extreme choice of taking the matter to court, the workers' comp system provides a lot of opportunities to negotiate with the employers, and the insurance company, for a fair compensation deal after a work injury.
It is best to have a lawyer present who has a good understanding of workers' rights in Ohio because the other party is sure to have legal advice of their own. A lawyer can help workers determine whether any settlement offers that are made are in line with the level of pain and emotional suffering endured.
Collection of Evidence
Should negotiations break down, the next step will be to prepare for trial. A lot of information about the nature of the work injury, and any related circumstances, needs to be collected, filed, and made ready for presentation in court.
Any mistakes at this stage could very well result in the case being thrown out of court, without any damages being awarded to the clients. The best thing for employees to do is to take up the offer of free consultations and get an experienced attorney to file a personal injury claim on their behalf.
Discussing Possible Compensation Benefits
Each work accident is unique and it is only through analyzing exactly what happened that a fair settlement is reached. Economic damages, such as medical costs, and lost wages, are fairly easy to determine, but it takes experienced lawyers, such as those at Larimer and Larimer law firm, to be able to negotiate a good settlement for other non-economic damages.
Visit the Law Offices of Larrimer and Larrimer Today!
Employers always have a good attorney by their side when dealing with compensation claims, and an injured employee should do the same. Going for a free case review is the first thing that a worker should do before seeking workers' compensation benefits.
At Larrimer and Larrimer, there is nothing we have not seen when it comes to workers' compensation disputes. Since the day we opened our doors back in 1929, we have served countless residents of Columbus, Ohio, winning millions of dollars in workers' compensation claims in the process.
Visit our law offices for a free consultation today, and see why we are one of the most trusted names when it comes to handling workers' compensation claims. So if you have certain questions regarding workers' comp, such as if you can use PTO while on workers' compensation, contact us to know more.