Can You Get Workers’ Compensation for Pain and Suffering?

No, you cannot get workers’ compensation benefits for pain and suffering. You can, however, get workers’ compensation benefits for certain psychological maladies that produce clear physical symptoms, such as PTSD. You must file a personal injury lawsuit if you want pain and suffering damages. Depending on the specific facts of your case, this may or may not be possible.

What Workers’ Compensation Offers Sick or Injured Claimants

The main purposes of the workers’ compensation system are to keep work-related injuries from clogging the courts and to ensure that injured workers receive the compensation they need without delay. Workers’ compensation offers claimants compensation for medical expenses and lost income. Death benefits are available to survivors if an employee dies from a work-related accident or injury.

The Workers’ Compensation Tradeoff

The workers’ compensation system is a substitute for ordinary personal injury claims that apply to work-related injuries and illnesses. Its main advantage is that you can win compensation without proving fault.

The main disadvantage is that you cannot win non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life. This can drastically limit the amount of compensation available to you.

The Loopholes: Circumstances Under Which You Can File a Personal Injury Lawsuit

You can file a personal injury lawsuit, rather than a workers’ compensation claim, under the following circumstances:

Your Employer Intentionally Injured You

If your boss physically assaults or injures you by deliberately neglecting safety measures, you can skip the workers’ compensation system and proceed directly to a personal injury claim. Intentional injuries inflicted by an employer upon an employee are not particularly common, but they do happen.

You Are an Independent Contractor, Not an Employee

Independent contractors are ineligible for workers’ compensation but can file personal injury lawsuits against their “bosses.” Your status as an employee or an independent contractor depends on the terms of your relationship with your boss. The more independently you work, the more likely you are an independent contractor rather than an employee. 

Whether your boss calls you an employee or an independent contractor doesn’t matter. Ultimately a court will decide this issue because it is a legal question. Settlement negotiations will likely proceed according to what the negotiating parties believe a court would decide if the case went to trial.  

A Third Party Is Responsible for Your Injury 

Not all workplace accidents can be traced back to you or your employer. Sometimes a third party is at fault. Alternatively, perhaps the property owner failed to repair or warn of an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property.

How Do You Calculate Pain and Suffering Damages?

If you manage to qualify for pain and suffering damages, you could greatly increase the value of your claim. There are two main ways that claimants and insurance companies calculate pain and suffering damages:

  • The per diem method: This method relies on assigning a certain amount of money per day that you suffered. A $200 per day for three months, for example, would add up to $18,000.
  • The multiplier method. This method relies on applying a number between 1.5 and 5.0 to your economic damages figure. If your economic damages (medical bills, lost earnings, etc.) were $10,000, and your multiplier is 3.5, your total pain and suffering damages will amount to $35,000.

Remember, pain and suffering is only one component of damages. Your total compensation will probably add up to considerably more than your pain and suffering damages alone.

Contact a Lawyer 

Yes, lawyers cost money, but you don’t need a dime in your pocket to hire a top-tier personal injury lawyer. All you need is a strong claim. 

Personal injury lawyers usually work on a contingency basis, meaning that your legal fees amount to a pre-agreed percentage of your compensation. If your lawyer is skilled and experienced, they could win far more than you would be able to win on your own, even after deducting legal fees.

If you’ve been injured in a personal injury, please contact Marzzacco Niven & Associates at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today:

Harrisburg Law Office
945 East Park Drive, Suite 103 Harrisburg, PA 17111
(717) 231-1640

York Law Office
2550 Kingston Road, Suite 210A York, PA 17401
(717) 995-8998

Wyomissing Law Office
833 N. Park Road, Suite 103, Room A Wyomissing, PA 19610
(717) 388-2325

Chambersburg Law Office
79 St. Paul Drive, Suite 1 Chambersburg, PA 17201
(717) 388-2378

Carlisle Law Office
354 Alexander Springs Road Carlisle, PA 17015
(717) 995-8732

Carbondale Law Office
30 Lincoln Avenue, Suite 101 Carbondale, PA 18407
(717) 995-8810

Lancaster Law Office
2173 Embassy Drive, Ste 123, Lancaster Pa 17603
(717) 616-2954

Lebanon Law Office
937 Willow Street, Suite D Lebanon, PA 17042-1140
(717) 995-8963