Two Ways To Recover Pain And Suffering In Your Workers' Comp Claim
The primary benefit of workers' compensation insurance is people who are injured on the job can receive benefits (e.g., money for medical bills and lost wages) fairly quickly and without having to file a lawsuit against their employers. However, one drawback is you cannot collect cash for any pain and suffering you experience as a result of your injuries. However, here are two ways you may be able to get around this restriction.
File a Separate Claim for Psychological Injuries
Although workers' compensation will not give you money for the actual pain caused by your injury or other issues that fall under the pain and suffering category (e.g., loss of life enjoyment, social humiliation associated with scarring), the insurance company will pay any claims for psychological injuries that develop from your injury.
For example, if you develop a depressive disorder because of the constant pain your injury causes, you would have cause to file another claim (or add onto your existing claim) for benefits.
The requirements for getting benefits for a psychological disorder are the same. It must be connected to your injury or workplace and you must have been formally diagnosed with the condition and are receiving treatment for it. In some states, you may also be required to have been with your employer for a minimum length of time (e.g., 6 months). In addition to getting the associated medical bills paid, you may receive temporary or permanent disability payments if your mental health condition is severe enough to prevent you from working.
File a Civil Lawsuit
Workers' compensation is the exclusive remedy for workplace injuries, meaning you cannot sue your employer in civil court for damages related to the accident if your claim is handled by the insurance company. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule.
You can sue your employer for damages if he or she intentionally caused your injuries. Your supervisor punches you in the face and breaks your nose. You could sue your employer directly in this situation since the employer deliberately set out to injure you.
An employer who engages in fraudulent activity in connection to your injuries can also be sued directly for damages. The owner of the company tries to hide records showing he was cited for numerous safety violations, once of which caused the workplace accident you were involved in. This may be enough for the court to approve a lawsuit against the employer, since your employer was trying to conceal important information that could impact your ability to be approved for benefits through workers' comp.
Lastly, there may be other parties involved in the accident who are not subjected to the workers' comp exclusivity rule. If the ladder you were on collapsed because of a manufacturer's defect, you could sue the manufacturer for damages.
For more information about this issue or assistance with your workers' compensation claim, contact a personal injury attorney.