Workers' compensation benefits provide a financial safety net when an employee suffers an on-the-job injury. They pay for medical care, as well as a portion of lost wages. Pain and suffering benefits are not included regardless of the severity of your injury.
Why Workers' Compensation Doesn't Include Pain and Suffering Damages
The workers' compensation system is designed to make claims as easy to resolve as possible. There is no need to prove fault, which means you can still collect benefits even if your own actions contributed to the accident that caused your injuries.
While the streamlined process makes it easier for injured employees to access benefits, it comes with a tradeoff. Injured workers only receive compensation for a portion of their lost wages—and there is no possibility for pain and suffering damages like you would find in a personal injury lawsuit. However, you may be able to receive compensation in one of the following ways.
- Receiving permanent partial disability benefits. When your injury results in a residual impairment that keeps you from working, you may be able to receive permanent partial disability benefits to compensate for your reduced quality of life.
- Filing a claim for a mental health disorder. In some cases, depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other mental health issues related to an injury or occupation disease might qualify for workers' compensation benefits.
Third-Party Personal Injury Claims
Even though workers' compensation doesn't pay for pain and suffering damages, you may be able to increase your financial recovery by filing a personal injury claim. Filing a personal injury claim will allow you to receive access to compensation for pain and suffering, as well as the full value of your lost wages and any associated property damage related to the accident that caused your injuries.
You might have a valid personal injury claim if someone other than your employer caused your accident. For example:
- If you work as a pizza delivery driver and you are hit by a car that ran a red light, you might have a third-party personal injury claim against the driver of the vehicle that caused the accident.
- If you are a carpenter or electrician working in someone's home, you might have a personal injury claim if you were bit by their dog.
- If you work in a factory and you were hurt because you were using equipment that was defective, you might have a claim against the manufacturer of the equipment. Or, if the equipment was repaired incorrectly, you could have a valid personal injury claim against the company that performed the repairs.
- If a contractor or subcontractor caused your injury, you might be able to name them as the defendant in your personal injury suit. For example, you might be able to file a claim against a third-party cleaning service if you slipped and fell because a spill hadn't been properly cleaned up.
If you are injured in an accident that may also be the basis of a personal injury claim, you will need to speak to an experienced attorney as soon as possible. Whenever an injured worker receives benefits through the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC), they will be required to reimburse the state if they receive future compensation in a personal injury settlement or award. An attorney can help you understand your repayment options while maximizing the pain and suffering compensation you can receive in your personal injury claim.
Contact Us Today to Speak to an Ohio Workers' Compensation Attorney
Justice Law Firm is committed to helping Ohio workers receive the workers' compensation benefits they need to recover from on-the-job injuries or illnesses. Attorney Stewart Justice clerked for the Chief Justice of the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and interned with the Ohio Supreme Court's Disciplinary Counsel and the Ohio Attorney General's Civil Rights section before founding Justice Law Firm. His in-depth legal knowledge makes it possible for him to handle a wide range of challenges related to workers' compensation claims. Call our office at 614-543-1320, or complete our online contact form to schedule a free initial consultation.