It is important to understand how workers’ compensation works as well as what your legal rights are.
You have the right to file a workers’ compensation claim if you are injured or become ill or even die while on the job. These claims are to cover medical expenses, occupational rehabilitation expenses if needed, and any wages lost while out of work due to the injuries. Your injuries may be substantial enough to cause long time and/or permanent pain.
Does Worker’s Compensation Cover Pain and Suffering?
Workers’ Compensation laws are specific to each state and are based on a no fault system which means that the injuries are covered even when they are caused by the neglect or fault of the employee. Workers’ Comp is an elective process by which you are essentially waiving your rights to pain and suffering when you file a Workers’ Compensation claim; therefore, you are not permitted to claim damages for pain and suffering.
What Rights do I Have if my Pain and Suffering was Caused by a Third Party?
With the exception of your employer, you can file a personal injury claim for any pain and suffering you have experienced against a third party that is the cause of an accident you suffered while on the job. These injuries could be caused by the manufacturer of a product, another employee or an independent contractor. If your job related injuries were caused by a third party, you can file a Workers’ Compensation claim against your employer as well as file a separate law suit against any third party for personal injuries.
Pain and Suffering may be Recoverable by Workers’ Compensation.
It is actually possible to file a claim for pain and suffering under Worker’s Compensation. In this case, you would have to file your claim under the Federal Employee Liability Act and not through the State which has limited laws. This law was adopted for railroad workers’ and is not technically worker’s comp though. Also, in some states you can actually file a claim against your employer for mental and emotional distress. These cases are not easy to win but if you can prove that your employer has deliberately caused this distress, you can be successful. Another scenario would be if, after your work related accident, you have been diagnosed with PTSD or depression which was directly caused by your injuries; it is possible to recover medical benefits. Contact an experienced attorney today such as the Workers Compensation Attorneys Queens NY locals turn to.
Thanks to authors at Polsky, Shouldice & Rosen LLP for their insight into Workers Compensation Law.