You might have heard of accident victims being awarded compensation above and beyond what they need to cover medical bills and lost wages. This money is intended to compensate them for the physical pain and emotional suffering resulting from the accident. While such compensation—referred to as pain and suffering—is sometimes available in personal injury claims, it is not awarded in workers' compensation claims.
Why Doesn't Worker's Comp Cover Pain & Suffering?
A traumatic workplace injury certainly can cause suffering beyond the injury itself. Still, pain and suffering damages are not available under workers' comp the way they are for personal injury lawsuits. This is partly because workers' compensation is a no-fault insurance program intended to make claims between employees and employers easy to resolve. Unlike in a personal injury claim, an injured worker needn't prove that their employer was at fault, but the trade-off is that the damages are limited to medical bills and lost wages.
But What If My Work Injury Caused Physical and Emotional Pain?
While pain and suffering damages are not available under workers' comp, it might be possible to extend disability benefits in Ohio based on mental anguish or physical pain and lost body function these ways:
- Psychiatric conditions. Medically documented depression, anxiety, or stress that has arisen from an injury or occupational disease sustained by that claimant and prevents them from working might be compensable by workers' comp.
- Permanent partial disability. If debilitating pain prevents a claimant from working after they have recovered from a workplace injury, they might qualify for permanent partial disability to compensate for the residual impairment. This is the closest workers' compensation has to a "damages" award for pain and suffering.
An experienced workers' compensation attorney can help you determine if you can extend benefits under one of these scenarios.
Monast Law Office Will Explore All of Your Options
Most worker's comp claims are straightforward, but if a psychiatric disorder or chronic pain complicates your claim, discuss the possibility of extending your benefits with the Monast Law Office.
Learn more by requesting my free guide, The Worker's Guide to Injury Compensation in Ohio, and then contact my Columbus office to talk to someone who can help.