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Does Workers’ Compensation Cover Pain & Suffering?

On Behalf of | Nov 24, 2020 | Workers' Compensation

Georgia’s workers’ compensation system makes it easy for an injured worker to recover compensation for medical bills and lost wages. It is a no-fault system that does not require the worker to prove negligence to qualify for compensation. When handled correctly, a workers’ comp claim can be an easy way to pay for the costs associated with a workplace accident. Benefits awarded, however, will not cover pain and suffering.

How to Get Pain & Suffering Damages

Pain and suffering is a non-economic damage associated with an accident. It envelopes losses such as physical pain and suffering, emotional distress, mental anguish, inconvenience, and psychological harm. It can also pay for lost quality or enjoyment of life. Pain and suffering is not a recoverable damage in a workers’ compensation claim in Georgia. It is something an injured worker gives up in return for the ability to recover no-fault damages. Currently, no state’s workers’ compensation system allows the payout of pain and suffering damages. However, that does not mean a worker can never receive this type of award.

You may be able to recover pain and suffering damages for an occupational injury or illness if you bring a liability claim instead of or in addition to accepting a workers’ compensation settlement in Georgia. A liability claim aims to hold one or more parties legally responsible for causing an accident. You may have grounds to bring a liability claim if someone breached a duty of care that he or she owed you and if this is what caused your injury.

You cannot file a liability claim against your employer if you have already accepted a workers’ compensation settlement. You can only receive compensation through one route or the other. If your employer caused your accident, such as through a failure to properly train or prepare you for workplace hazards, you can bring a personal injury lawsuit against the company for damages. You could also bring a liability claim against someone other than your employer even after you accept workers’ compensation. A successful personal injury lawsuit could repay you for pain and suffering.

How Much Compensation Can You Receive?

In a typical workers’ compensation claim in Georgia, you can receive compensation for your full past and future medical expenses. This can include the costs of any doctor’s appointments, medical care, surgeries, treatments, physical therapy and rehabilitation. You can also receive reimbursement for about two-thirds of your lost wages. It is impossible, however, to receive compensation for pain and suffering through a workers’ compensation agreement. You must file a liability claim to pursue these damages.

Pain and suffering damages are most common in cases involving serious or catastrophic personal injuries. Injuries that a victim will have for the foreseeable future or for life inflict the greatest amount of physical pain and emotional suffering. If you believe you are eligible for pain and suffering damages, speak to a workers’ compensation attorney about how to proceed with the claims process. A personal injury lawsuit against your employer or another party may be possible. If you can bring a liability claim, your lawyer will help you fight for maximum compensation for pain and suffering, as well as other damages.

If you do qualify for pain and suffering compensation, the amount you receive will depend on the severity of your work-related injuries. In general, a victim with a more serious injury will recover greater compensation for pain and suffering than a victim with a minor injury. It is generally up to a jury to decide how much to award for pain and suffering. A jury will assess how much the injury impacted the victim to determine this amount. For more information about the value of your workers’ compensation claim and the possibility of pain and suffering damages, contact an attorney in Atlanta.