A work-related injury can cause you a lot of physical pain coupled with emotional suffering. You might also worry about having to take time off work and continue paying your bills, especially if your injury leaves you with a disability. Thankfully, workers’ compensation is available to most employees, covering medical costs and providing weekly income supplementation as you recover.
Many injured workers wonder, “Can I get pain and suffering with workers’ compensation too?” This is a fair question, as pain and suffering are often available in personal injury claims. However, workers’ compensation claims are different than other types of injury claims, so what you can seek in compensation is more limited.
What Does “Pain and Suffering” Mean?
“Pain and suffering” is the legal term for both physical and emotional stress you might experience because of an accident. It depends on how the pain or lifestyle changes resulting from your injuries have affected your quality of life.
Pain and suffering are a category of general damages in personal injury claims. Examples of pain and suffering can include:
- Anxiety or depression
- Inability to do things you used to enjoy or loss of enjoyment of life
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Emotional distress
- Fear, anger, or humiliation
For example, after a car accident, the victim might experience a lot of pain and frustration when trying to perform simple tasks as they did before. Or, someone who has been badly burned in a workplace accident may suffer embarrassment or humiliation in social situations because of their disfigured appearance.
In short, anything that decreases your quality of life because of physical injuries falls under pain and suffering.
Can You Get Pain and Suffering Benefits with Workers’ Compensation?
While pain and suffering damages are available in a personal injury case, it, unfortunately, does not work the same way with workers’ compensation claims.
Workers’ compensation was set up to make the claims process easier between employees and their employers. For example, you cannot sue your employer for workers’ comp benefits and you do not have to prove fault to receive compensation. While these elements of workers’ comp are often beneficial, it comes with a tradeoff: you cannot receive pain and suffering through a workers’ compensation claim.
In a workers’ compensation claim, your benefits are typically limited to:
- Compensation of medical costs
- Weekly wage benefits (if your work injury prevents you from working for at least seven days)
- Rehabilitation benefits
- Death benefits (for your dependents if you are killed from a work injury)
The fact that workers’ compensation does not cover pain and suffering is frustrating for many injured workers. Many work injuries cause immense pain that can leave you with physical and emotional turmoil. Sadly, the inability to seek pain and suffering is one of the limitations of workers’ comp.
Even though pain and suffering damages aren’t available from a work injury, you should work with an experienced workers’ compensation lawyer to seek the full benefits are you entitled from your work accident. Getting medical compensation and supplemental income can help ease your stress as you get treatment and recover from your injuries.
Our Georgia workers’ compensation lawyers know how to seek the fullest compensation possible after a work accident. You will need to be prepared, as the insurance company may look for ways to deny or reduce your claim. For a FREE consultation to discuss your legal options, call John Foy & Associates today at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online.
Situations Where Pain and Suffering May Be an Option
Although pain and suffering are not legally available in a workers’ compensation claim, there are situations where you may be able to seek these damages from a third party in your work accident.
For example, say you are operating a vehicle while on-the-clock for your job and another vehicle crashes into you. You suffer serious injuries. You would already have a workers’ comp case since the injuries happened while performing the duties of your job. You might also have a personal injury case against the other driver.
Serious auto accident injuries can easily lead to pain and suffering damages. You should contact an experienced lawyer right away to discuss your options. You will likely be able to file a personal injury claim against the at-fault driver, and that may include seeking compensation for pain and suffering damages.
How to Protect Yourself After a Painful Work Accident
Even though there are limits on what you can receive through a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, the benefits you can get will help decrease work-related discrepancies as you recover. The best thing you can do is know your rights and protect yourself during the claim process.
Here are some ways you can legally protect your rights and seek the best compensation after a work accident.
Report the Accident
According to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation (SBWC), you have 30 days to report your work injury to your employer. However, you should do so as soon as possible after the accident happens.
If you wait too long to report your injury, you could lose your chance at benefits. It’s also harder to remember the details of what happened and demonstrate your injuries as time goes by.
Contact a Georgia Workers’ Compensation Lawyer
Although workers’ comp cases should be straightforward, they are rarely as stress-free as you’d think. The insurance company or your employer might try to downplay your injuries or look for ways to reduce the timeline of your disability benefits.
To avoid getting taken advantage of, and to make sure you are seeking the full benefits you’re entitled to, contact an experienced Georgia workers’ compensation lawyer right away. Most workers’ comp lawyers do not take any upfront fees—and only get paid if they win your case—so you can begin working with them risk-free.
File Your Workers’ Comp Claim
You will need to complete and file a Form WC-14 with the SBWC and send a copy to your employer and their insurance company. If you need help doing this, a workers’ comp lawyer can assist you.
Get Treatment for Your Injuries
After you report a work injury, your employer should provide you with a panel of physicians to choose from for treatment. These doctors are covered under your employer’s workers’ compensation policy. Make sure you see an authorized physician and follow their treatment instructions.
Keep track of all expenses you face from your work accident, including medical bills and days missed from work. Also, if you can, take pictures of your injuries and the accident scene. Anything you can compile may be helpful if you experience issues with your claim.
Talk to a Workers’ Compensation Lawyer in Georgia for Free Today
John Foy & Associates has been helping injured workers get the benefits they need and deserve for over two decades. We know how to handle workers’ comp cases and fight for your legal rights. Call us for a FREE, no-risk consultation and case evaluation at (404) 400-4000 or contact us online today.