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You may be surprised to learn that workers’ compensation only pays for certain expenses resulting from a work-related injury. Here are two frequently asked questions about workers’ compensation and its coverage for emotional distress and pain and suffering.
For workers’ compensation, employers are only required to pay for an employee’s lost wages and medical bills, not pain and suffering. The trade-off for employees is they don’t have to prove the employer was at fault for the accident. Even if the worker was responsible, they can still receive damages according to workers’ compensation guidelines.
One possible exception is when an injury causes a mental disorder or emotional distress. An example of this could be when a worker develops a mental health condition due to severe disability, loss of independence or inability to resume favorite activities. In this case, workers’ compensation could include treatment for depression or other mental health conditions.
This exception for pain and suffering is very rare because workers’ compensation requires the employee’s legal team to prove the employer intentionally caused the accident resulting in the injury. The best chance of winning this type of case might be in California. In other states, such as Pennsylvania, there is no compensation for pain and suffering or emotional distress under the state’s workers’ compensation laws.
You probably won’t be able to get additional workers’ compensation for mental health if your doctor can’t prove that your injury caused emotional distress. However, if you developed PTSD or another mental health condition due to your accident and injury, workers’ comp will likely pay for treatment.
workers’ compensation will cover your long-term, injury-related medical issues as long as you choose ongoing coverage instead of a settlement. So if you end up battling chronic pain for years, you will receive medical compensation. Although, you might need to use your health insurance to cover mental health treatment.
If you opted out of your workers’ compensation plan, or if your employer did not follow workers’ comp law and stipulations in your case, there might be an opening for you to file a personal injury claim. Pain and suffering damages can be awarded in a lawsuit. Skilled and experienced workers’ compensation lawyers like one from Hickey & Turim SC who specializes in workers’ compensation law in your state can help you through the claims process. Reach out to friends and family to ask for lawyer referrals or you can also search online for workers’ compensation lawyers working in your area.